Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Posts Tagged ‘stages’

The Sands of Time

The world, life, has always seemed to me to be as an hourglass, the tiny individual grains of sand appearing at the mouth of the funnel from nowhere. The top is empty, after all, else we’d know to the grain how long our lives.

So there, just above the narrow tunnel between “to be” and “been” appears a moment, on its way to becoming a memory, in that fleeting time of “now”. From there it falls through to join other moments come and gone. These we can see, of course, as they fill the bottom of the hourglass. Shake the glass and they come into view.

Wasn’t it just yesterday that my hourglass was nearly empty? So few grains of time that the bottom was barely dusted? Isn’t that my Mom and Dad right there in that huge Chevy wagon? Man, it’s PACKED with beach stuff. There I am in the “way-back” sitting on top of the chairs and towels. 4 kids in the car; we can’t sit together, of course, because someone might touch someone else! They were so big, my folks, they filled up the horizon. So small now…so fragile…shadows that flit in and out of view.

There’s a goldfinch feeder just outside our window. This morning 6 finches crowded around, a vision of bright yellow, a first for us in our new house. Goldfinches always make me think of my firstborn, Danny. Wasn’t it just last week when we stood, his shoulder to ┬ámy chest, atop that observatory, gazing at the display of aerial artistry as hawks and finches dazzled across the field? The bright, curly yellow hair is long shorn, now replaced by a bright red beard. My head is now at his shoulder, but the appearance of a Goldfinch at my breakfast nook still brings back that ever so soft, quiet exclamation: “I really love birds, Dad.”

My caboose, Randy, sang at his Baccalaureate, ready to graduate from High School. Beth and had just become Netty Empsters. How can that be? When did that grain of sand appear? Can we really be here already? Shake the glass just a little and there he is in his Spider Man jammies, the first day of football, “hey Dad, I’m taller than you!” They keep appearing at the mouth of the funnel, another and another and another grain as the sands of my time flow. Can it really be? Are we really here ALREADY? When I report for work at my “second job” at CrossFit Bingo I’ll begin by greeting my boss. Kid named Randy.

I know it was only last week. Had to be right? We stood there in the threshold, hand in hand. One more step and we’d be all the way there, all the way inside school and surely we’d make it to class on time. Longest step ever taken, but away we went, Megan and I. How could it be, then, that I was Facetiming her graduation ceremony from grad school, the proud recipient of a Masters Degree in Psychology? Yet there it is, a grain of sand scoots down the tassel and joins the rest of the milestones in the bottom of my glass.

The hourglass sits afore me, the sand flows. I see Randy as he looks toward me, looks as I fill his horizon. My gaze drifts toward my Mom and Dad; they are barely a rise in Randy’s sand. Grains appear for me, one after the other. I see behind, before, in the bottom of my hourglass. I stare at the funnel, stare as if I look hard enough the top of the hourglass will fill, I’ll see “to be”.

It’s not possible, of course, you know that. It’s so trite, so trivial, but no less true that the sands pour through more swiftly than we can follow. The less we attend to them the faster they pour. The less attention we pay the harder it is to see them as they settle in the bottom of the glass; we miss them as they pass and then can’t find them as they settle among the other grains of our time. To find them in the bottom of the hourglass we must see them as they pass through the funnel from top to bottom, look right at them lest they be nothing more than shadows.

Where did they all go, those grains, those sands of my time? How many did I miss, shadows on my horizon?