Gratitude Sunday: Time Can Do So Much

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Snowdrops, crocuses,
hyacinth, spring! Groundhog fails
mother nature’s bling.

Sunday Musings
Look at that. The first month of the new year is gone already. Funny thing about time. Time is one of the few cost-free resources that is non-renewable; once time is spent you can never get it back or repeat it. All possibility of time machines aside, there are no true do-overs in life.

On February 2, Groundhog’s Day, we ask a superstitious thing of time. We ask the shadow of a little critter to predict (time in the future) the arrival of an arbitrary assignation known as “spring”. Scientifically and chronologically we mark spring with the vernal equinox when the sun is half way between the solstices. The time of the equinoxes and the solstices fall within a range; they do not occur the same time or even the same date every year, because the calendar contrived by man does not exactly fit the turn of the earth and its rotation around the sun. Regardless where the sun is at the time they mark the groundhog’s shadow, the fact is, the equinox, the physical marker we use for the arrival of spring, occurs on average about six weeks later give or take a few minutes of time.

The earth, this planet we are graced with as home, often defies our notion of time, and proceeds according to its own inner calendar which we can certainly pay attention to but rarely do any more. We want life to happen according to our calendar, not nature’s. The common sense of farm families and Native Americans who lived close to the earth has disappeared. The calendar says it should be way too early for camellias or snowdrops or hyacinths or forsythia, yet here in the Pacific Northwest there they are popping up and out and blooming all over despite what time we think they should bloom.

I take the time today to celebrate one year of this writing habit. Last year I finally had more of my ducks in a row and was able to move from random writing to routine. My writing evolved over the year starting with a daily habit and very productive output to a daily habit with a more limited output. What happened?

Grief happened. Grieving is a physical and mental experience we rarely talk about. When my mother died last summer, it was like a switch flipped in me. I was suddenly older, sadder, less able physically and mentally. A short couple of weeks after Mom died was the 40th anniversary of the death of a young man I deeply loved. Mom had helped me through his death, but suddenly with her death his seemed as fresh as if it had just happened. I notice my thought process slows, cohesive thinking deteriorates, decisions are ever more elusive, memory evades. Everything takes longer whether it is housework or writing or walking. Not only did I lose my mother I am grieving the loss of parts of what I knew as my self, the loss of mental acuity and faculty, and physical ability.

In celebration of one year of my writing habit I pay tribute today to Pete Seeger who has spent time with me since grade school when we started group singing, and traveled with me through high school as a member of the Folksingers Club, and stayed with me while I learned to play the guitar. I didn’t know Pete personally but he has touched the lives of every person in our United States and beyond with his music. You can hear the first song I learned by Pete sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary here. Pete, whose songs reflect his belief in helping each other, died this week, but in his time here with us on this planet he left the world a better place, which is the best any of us can hope for. RIP, Pete.

It is said time heals all wounds. The older I get the more I think some of these homilies are not so true. Time does not heal. Time removes. “Time goes by so slowly, and time can do so much” (lyrics by Hy Zaret from Unchained Melody; here’s my favorite version embedded in Joni Mitchell’s Chinese Cafe, and the original by the Righteous Brothers). When it comes to grief, I don’t think the wound ever truly heals. Surely, it scabs over as time goes by, but every so often the scab rips wide open again, bleeds a little, and begins a new scab. Time passes and there is distance from the event that caused the wound. Equinoxes and solstices come around with their varying times and scabs may grow smaller. Then one day, as one day it was time for us to be born, it will be our time to leave this planet. Time as we know it now will change forever and we may no longer feel the wound.

Color Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I spy with my little eyes a yellow forsythia bulging, but not budded; the same with daffodils, stems still producing the precious flower bump that so delights our eyes when blossomed; the brilliant pink of a hyacinth planted next to a south facing wall where it gets all the warmth possible in winter.

Currently Reading – Alphabet Juice; the Energies, Gists, Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences, With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory (2009, English etymology and grammar) by Roy Blount Jr.; Manson; The Life and Times of Charles Manson (2013, biography) by Jeff Guinn. Yes, concurrently.

Please no comments on my voyeuristic dark side. I have survived a couple of encounters with people who were beyond the “societal norm” and I am curious what makes a person become sociopathic or psychopathic. I don’t like to think we are born that way. I was in California a few times during the period Manson and his group were murdering people; the experience was outside my imagination. On September 22, 1975, I was in San Francisco and had driven my 1974 Volvo past the St Francis Hotel about ten minutes before the street was cordoned off for President Gerald Ford to exit the building, when Sara Jane Moore, attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford. The streets of San Francisco, which I was not familiar with immediately became gridlocked. No traffic moved anywhere as the area was secured to subdue the shooter. I didn’t have my car radio tuned to local channels and didn’t learn this information until that evening when the event was on all the news channels, but being so close to the action improved my imagination and piqued my curiosity. Sara Jane Moore, was an FBI informant and not a member of the Manson family, but her assassination attempt came just 17 days after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, who was a member of the Manson family, attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Funny how some experiences stick with you.

Winter Classic Reading Choice 2014: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Enjoying the slower pace, and another place. That’s the point of the Winter Classic Read.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Listening to the variety of birdsong outside my “home office”.
  • Memory. Imagination. Reading.
  • The fresh, crisp, cold smell of late winter air without extreme weather.
  • Girl Scout cookies and Girl Scouts.
  • Young people, our hope for change in the future.
  • A nice hot shower and clean clothes at the turn of a tap and the push of a button.
  • The faculties I retain.
  • How time passes while I write.
  • My paternal grandmother’s birthday on February 4 and my paternal grandfather’s birthday on February 6.
  • Manatees. Large graceful water creatures of great beauty.
  • Outrageously consumeristic, I know, but I love having two TVs for watching Super Bowl. One for me to watch and listen to the game. One, in another room, for the hubster to loudly coach, critique, and add all the color commentary he wishes to his heart’s content.
  • Castroville, California artichokes. They’re only a day away. By plane, that is.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

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6 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Time Can Do So Much

  1. Michelle says:

    I loved Pete Seeger’s music and energy. If you haven’t ever heard it, you should check out Bruce Springsteen’s We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions. It’s one of the most joyful and touching recordings I’ve had the pleasure to hear. You can read about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/We_Shall_Overcome:_The_Seeger_Sessions

    Like

  2. Michelle says:

    And, at the risk of monopolizing your comments section: I’ve experienced firsthand the way grief can make you feel older, slower, and can intrude on your thought processes and erode your productivity. When I left my partner of many years in 2012, it took a good six months before I stopped feeling like I was losing my mind. And a year and a half later I’m finally beginning to regain my ability to focus on something for more than a few minutes at a time. Though your loss will never be replaced, perhaps in other respects you will continue to heal. Hugs to you, miss Kate!

    Like

  3. Rowan says:

    Great list! 🙂 I love hearing the birds too, and the fact that they are hiding everywhere – even in towns – to great us with their songs!

    Like

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