Tuesday, August 14, 2012

August 14th, 2012

Time is at once the most valuable and the 
most perishable of all our possessions

John Randolph

These words precede the first chapter of Anna Quindlen's book

'Lots of Candles and Plenty of Cake'

which I have borrowed on a seven day loan from the library
and which I am going to plunge into - as soon as I have dealt with my
thoughts about this little quotation about Time, that mysterious quality which wanders through our lives 
at random paces, sometimes carrying us breathless through adventures and exciting times;
sometimes carrying us along peacefully through quiet pools and serene waters,
and sometimes just disappearing behind us, falling down the memory hole, so that 
when we look back it is hard to remember the ordinary days 
that have made up so much of our lives.

Last evening I had a lovely telephone chat with one of my bridesmaids.
We have been the best of friends for over seventy years, although life has taken us along
entirely different paths, and the time when we bonded as 'kindred spirits' in the early '40's
was such a small percentage of that seventy years.  But it was a Time of change and adventure,
and the days and months and years that we shared then, as friends,
worrying and waiting for our fiancees to return from the war were so intense that
they are imprinted with fondness and friendship forever.

And I know it was that way for Charles and his crew, as well.  They became closer
than brothers in the comparatively short while they were together, when their experiences
were so dangerous and all consuming that Time for them must have been always on the qui vie
and their dependence upon each other created a life-long bond.

But apart from these kind of situations what do we remember?
Sometimes the most simple and mundane moments.  I remember sitting on
the sidewalk at the front of our house with the Cooper boys, while our mothers
were having tea, discussing which were better, - apples, oranges or bananas.
This when I was four years old.  
And why would I remember that particular microcosm of Time when I have forgotten far more
important things that have slipped away down that devilish Memory Hole.

When life was a kaleidoscopic and all the children were still at home
I used to lie in bed at night before going to sleep, calculating time, and how much of it
was left to me.  When I was thirty I could figure on maybe another fifty years, judging on how
kind Time had been to my grandparents.  Wonderful, I would think, - I am only 3/8's of the
way through this marvelous life and I would turn over and go to sleep, comforted.

Even when I was sixty I could figure on having another twenty years!!!

And now that I am eighty-seven and Time is slipping and sliding so quickly,  I have still such great
enthusiasm to fill it to the brim, and am optimistic enough to have stretched the track
that reaches ahead to the Station to the Hereafter at least another ten years away.

But sometimes I am realistic enough to know that Time is a Trickster and life is tenuous,
so the answer is to wake up smiling and try to live with grace and patience
day by day....... 


John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Wise words indeed. I recently spoke to a man of 104 who was confidently telling me what he had planned for the next few years; he might just do it too!

Penny said...

Such a thought provoking post,I tend to think in 5 year steps now I am nearly 73, perhaps I will stretch it to 10.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Thank you Hildred! I wish I could express myself half as well as you do so that I could actually tell you how much your posts mean to me.

At 72, I'm still learning -- and that alone is something that -- back when my life was kaleidoscopic -- I imagined I wouldn't be doing by this age. I'm glad I was wrong then.

One important thing I'm still learning is as you say -- how to live with grace and patience every day -- your posts are a great teaching tool for that!!!

Reader Wil said...

Hi Hildred and Charles! Thank you for this beautiful post. We have seen and experienced a lot in our lives. Next year I will be 80, so we of an age.

The Artful Diva said...

You are blessed to have lifelong friends!

Barb said...

Wonderful post, Hildred! ("so the answer is to wake up smiling and try to live with grace and patience" - me too!) The 14th was our 46th wedding anniversary, so I was mulling over memories, too.

Granny Marigold said...

Hello Hildred, I am not a Blogger, in fact I think I am what they call a "lurker" but I do enjoy reading what others are up to. As my birthday gets closer and I get closer to "three score and ten" I find inspiration when those older than I am still remain active and cheerful. Many Blogs are written by people far far away but you and I live not that far apart as I live in Abbotsford! Until next time!!

Nan said...

So very beautifully written. The way life is going these days, I think you could look forward to another 20 years, or more!

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for very kind comments and for sharing bits of your lives.

I find friends in blogland very precious and a great contribution to the wake-up smile.