Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

The Hourglass

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 to be.

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.

My caboose, Randy, will sing today at Baccalaureate, ready to graduate from High School. Beth and I about to 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?

My big boy Dan is a law student? Come on! There’s that tiny grain of sand: “Hey Mom, MOM, can we make chocolate chip cookies” at 0430. A face-plant off the coffee table. “I’m OK!” The guy can grow a full beard, all Grizzly Adams, in one weekend! My goodness, already back from his bachelor party and ABOUT TO GET MARRIED! How did those grains of sand get here already?

“Lovely Daughter”, our middle child Megan, is so far away we can’t even get there with a single flight. The girl who spent 2 hours every single day in a car with her Mom to and from a barn is now the proud proprietor of her own ABA Therapy clinic. “I’n a huggy” and “that horse is ginormous” has given way to “Miss Megan, may I?” And she’s GETTING MARRIED, TOO. A daughter’s grains sparkle like diamonds, little bolts of lightning flying through the funnel.

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 own Mom and Dad, their hourglass is nearly full; there’s barely a rise in Randy’s sand. Grains appear in mine, 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 and  I’ll see my “to be”.

It’s not possible, of course. I know that. 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 as they pass the faster they pour. The less attention we pay the harder it is to see them as they land 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 become nothing more than shadows. We wonder if they were real at all.

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


Leave a Reply