I’d like time to stand still. I’d like to believe that the summer season moves as slowly now as it did when I was young, but it won’t. It starts, and before you know it, it’s over.
School bells ring again. Seasons change, and we brace ourselves for our frigid and blustery north eastern punishment.
Time standing still is a ridiculous notion, and this year it’s taken a hard hit. The high school girl has morphed into a college student, and the boy once contained in the confines of a back yard is about to start his high school adventure.
Time has done everything but stand still.
Clocks keep ticking, and the gray (hairs) keep coming. Is it a downhill slope? Or a future getting brighter?
The world goes mad, but you have to tell yourself that things will be OK, that the future is so bright that the shades should be worn at all times. I’ve spent the summer ducking and dodging stories of planes being shot out of the sky, fury fueled riots a la Rodney King, movie stars taking their own lives, and increasing gun violence in our local cities.
But such news is often hard to avoid. Everyone is consumed with it. We all love dirty laundry.
Most times, I manage to avoid the murder, mayhem, and disaster that make up the news bylines of our society, practicing what’s called The Low Information Diet. I usually don’t see any news stories other than weather, and when I do, I look at it with a jaded eye.
It’s all about stopping the noise.
The bad news keeps coming, but I’ll just look to my past for the good. No one, myself included, wants to live in the past, but I keep thinking what a great idea to make regular visits there. We sit around my cousin’s house on Sunday morning and reminisce over our coffee and toast, and draw the conclusion that some of the “good ‘ol days” were, in fact, just damn good.
Am I the father of a high school graduate? It doesn’t seem plausible, really. I was just playing ball the other day, with my friends, in my grandmother’s yard. School was out. Summer was full on. I was sliding into home. Catching fly balls past the fruit trees.
It had to be just the other day. Not decades ago. That’s how I remember it.
In what seems just a few days later, my kids were in their pajamas, falling asleep in their beds. I was reading them bedtime stories. Goodnight, Moon. Remember?
High school? College? Purely a figment of my imagination. Time can’t pass that quickly.
On a road trip with my wife’s brother into the heart of the Adirondacks, it felt like we were on a rocket ship back into the 1980’s, listening to one “hair band” after another. A bright, blue sky drive up the Northway, making a stab at the anthems of our youth.
I’m sure we heard Cinderella. “You don’t know what you’ve got, ’till it’s gone”. Loud and sonic, ripping down the highway.
Man, in that moment, I felt like a kid again.
It’s a lyric about love, but it could easily be a lyric about everything.
You don’t know what you’ve got. Does anybody?
I know what I’ve got. A college student. A kid heading to the 9th grade. A twenty-one year marriage.
I also know what else I have. An increasing disbelief that it all passes by so quickly. That the breakneck pace of life can’t just slow a bit, to briefly take in the glory of another summer.
Today was a gorgeous day, with a little time spent on the back deck. My wife had selected a Pandora station that played Tears For Fear’s “Mad World”. As I listened, sitting in my Adirondack chair in a bath of sunlight, the song sounded as fresh today as it did in 1983.
It was a mad world then. You could still call it a mad world. How else to explain the passage of time, making up your life, that rolls through in a blink of an eye?
Enjoy yourself, my friends. As my Nonna used to say, with a gleam in her eye – “It’s later than you think.”