My gardening friend, Mimi, and I have been writing each other about how circumstances have kept us from working in our yards this summer and so far into the fall. In her latest email, she wrote, “Recently I’ve been seeing how beautiful it is, and whatever it needs I’ll do next year or the one after that, and how much fun it is to have this palette that I can play with and do whatever I want with.”
She also wrote about how our perception of time changes as we grow older, and that’s what has struck me as most profound today. She wrote, “Isn’t it wonderful to be so old that instead of next year being ages away it's just a short while? I love the fact that I have no impatience regarding the little things I plant and just know that they'll get big sooner or later.”
Instead of next year being ages away, it’s just a short while. And she’s right. I don’t worry about how far away next summer is or how long it will be until I can ride my jet ski again. Time will pass and before I think it possible, I’ll be out on the creek riding again. The more seasons that I have the less I worry about how fast or how slowly they are going. Patience comes with grounding in the present and enjoying or enduring what is.
When I look to the past, however, time seems even shorter. Our memories of long past events grow more vivid as the time lengthens between the event and now, especially if the event was important. Sometimes, however, ordinary memories catch us off guard, though. Colors and smells and feelings come flowing into our now when they really belong in years past. The sprinkling of dust on Susie’s black car brought back the little Ford coupe that my brother owned in high school. We lived out in the country, and it was always covered with dust from the farm and the gravel road. And, I could smell the dust so vividly that I began coughing. The dirt there smelled different than it does here; so I know it was remembered smells and sights from 50 years ago.
Perhaps this perception of time is part of hope. If next year is only a short while away, then my long healing process is almost over. If yesteryear is just a flash away, then fearful times are relieved because life is good. And, knowing that those fearful times are past, I know that my illness and new fears will also pass, and life will be good. In the sweet by and by....