Friday, July 2, 2010

As if you could kill time without injuring eternity

Wednesday night was supposed to be a casual, fun night. I'd had a good day off and I was headed to sand volleyball. I've been to the volleyball courts before. There are approximately 3 turns from our apartment to the main street and then it's a straight shot west. Yet I got lost. I drove for 20 minutes down the wrong (but parallel) street, tried to cut over to the right street, hit construction and a huge detour, couldn't find where the right street started up again, and then quit. I spent an hour in my car and I was in a huff when I got home!

To calm down, I went for a walk around a tiny park by our apartment complex. It's always full of people in the evenings and that night the fireflies were out. Seeing the fireflies sent me from angry to nostalgic. Perfect seasonal weather (any season) always makes me nostalgic. Remember when you were a kid and there was nothing better than a perfect summer day?! No school, no homework, just a full day to play outside and wear yourself out!

Summer is made of sunshine and water. And free time. Little kids always know how to fill free time with fun.

When I was in grade school, my brothers and I could play with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on in the evening-- that was our "curfew." And that golden hour was what we lived for. We wore ourselves out playing in the heat, but when the sun started to sink and the air cooled, we got one last burst of energy. Just in time to chase the fireflies who were waking up.

It was also the best time for a softball game.

When did we lose that ability to make the most of every single day without even trying? I'm guessing the age at which we started learning phrases like "seize the day" is when we lost the ability to do so. When you think about anything too hard, it somehow eludes you even more. Like grasping sand in your fist, all the pressure does is cause it to slide through your fingers. I can never get a good grasp on time well spent.

Which leads me back to my present nostalgia and anxiety over the fact that I can't just enjoy a day any more. I only know how to be super busy, or kill time. ("Killing time" is a terrible phrase. Who am I to abuse the luxury of free time by wanting it to pass by faster?) I'm not good at living my life. I miss having friends to walk around the park with or little neighbor kids to run around with (as their babysitter now, but still).

I ended the night determined to spend less time on the computer reading about other people's lives and spend more time living my own.  Monday morning, I dug out my copy of Walden. Who better than Thoreau to teach me the art of embracing place and enjoying time? I could quote you paragraphs at a time that apply to my life, but this line jumped off the page: "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity."

Something to think about, certainly, but also something to LIVE.

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