The smell of rain was rising from the pavement beside me as I walked through the neighborhood this morning. Between that and the sunglasses yellow light that shone all over, I couldn’t miss another rain shower was imminent.
Fair was the word for the weather conditions when I walked out.
Then along came the clouds in a whipped array, in a batch of ocean blue. Behind those were yet another iteration, though flat like wet sand, gray and also widely spread, as if done with the back of a knife.
It must be time to eat, I thought, yet it wasn’t cake I craved.
Instead, my mind focused on my sky-inspired morning and its overwhelming vision–that of waves on the shore. Taken for the ride, I let play the reel of past experiences of salt water, sea shells, and sand pulling under my toes.
All of which cued Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60, a poem committed to memory in junior high days:
Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end.
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forward to contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown’d,
Crooked elipses ‘gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty’s bow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature’s truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.
What a difference over 20 years makes in reading this poem!
Being so close to “Nativity” at 12 or 13, I could only barely grasp the evolution of life as it tumbled from one era of experience to the next.
The minutes tumbling one to the next speak to me even more meaningfully now as I reflect. From school to school, then to college, then to graduation, it seemed that every stage was mapped out and clear. Until it wasn’t. Until the shores became less defined, and the unknown ahead. Instead of offering joy in possibilities, Time did the opposite for me, offering paralysis and fear.
How does one at 22 figure out what to do with her life when all things are possible yet none particularly compelling?
Perhaps it was “Maturity” come early to live on my brow, for then and there I faced the prospect of the only imagined future available to me, one fast-forwarded 20 years. One of me holed up in a cottage in a remote, wooded place, books for friends, and nature, wild animals, and other such for further companions. Though I’m sure my feet would have enjoyed the daily padding of newly hewn floors of local trees, it was my heart and unexplored desire for connection with real people and places yet unknown that panicked at this future.
Thankfully, a voice of logic stepped in! Something a hermit might not have the joy of experiencing, I reflected.
But that’s a whole other story…so back to now awash in visions of water lapping and sand turning…
Time is doing its work, washing over me in a rhythmic, marked-by-days way, transplanting dark brown hairs for gray ones, leaving edges around my eyes, and, I’m sure, collecting her dues as she trades me youth for experience–nativity for maturity.
Which leads to this.
Instead of falling into the trap of youth-chasing or the zone of years-gone-by lamenting, how about celebrating and anticipating the gift of the moment of now?
And what better way, for me anyway, to do so than to walk a morning circle before today’s waves come crashing in one after another–expectation, needs, plans, and duties? Their sequence is a given, their existence irrefutable. Accepting Time’s work partners one with her and gives me purpose for each lap and swash that break against my feet.
To catch the rise of rain from the pavement or the spill of the sun from the sky–these, to me are more gifts and windows into the heart of God. Not only this, but these displays enjoyed, appreciated, and given thanks for ready us for the forthcoming acts of today, which Time escorts to us bidden or not.
How will Time find you today?
Awash with plans and to-do’s and musts?
Amiss with fears and worry?
At peace with acceptance and intentionality?
Awakened with vigor and readiness?
Every moment is a gift. Receive it with expectant gratitude, partner with it, and allow its waves to make toward the pebbled shore of YOU!