Humidity did the usual stroll through July and August, then snuck on into September and likely will must and perspire its way into October.  Strange one, this humid thing being tracked by the sure sniffs of chills and first freeze.  Birch, Maple, Oak, Hickory, Elm, Poplar, and surviving Ash swing fresh colors across the fields and suburbs, all framed by Blue Spruce, Fir, Longleaf and Monterey Pine.  Grass grows a little slower and mowers’ drones become less frequent.  Leaf fall will bring brittle to strides, the flame and smoke of piles, giggles of kids undoing dads’ raked masterpieces.  Already, Halloween shelf-settles become a dust collecting, same old candy “I suppose I will” afterthought and the shift begins to Thanksgiving and, “Oh my gosh, I heard only a hundred days ‘til Christmas!  Where has the time gone – I have to get busy – and New Year’s Eve requires a plan, invitations…!” And so begins the fall and early winter months of “‘tis the season” blues and anxiety.

I try not to get caught up in all that.  Moving has certainly bottled up my moments of late.  Bulged box boosting, trailering – load and unload, trip on trip.  Laughs.  “Get out of the way, pop.  We got this.”  And my son pokes the “old man’s” arm as Cherise laughs.  And before these lines are shared, I’ll be in a new neighborhood.  Just that fast for a forever job to disappear into unpacking.  I think of a Jim Croce lyric that fits this sit.  “If I could save time in a bottle…”  A song of wistful wish that time could be held and create an eternity of minutes with a loved one.  He sings about saving every day until eternity passes away – “Just to spend them with you.”  The twist comes in there never being enough time to save the time to do the things we want to do.

I think time has become that just out of reach carrot that keeps us hurrying along to hurry some more and be all out of breath, take a rest, and start again.  Get a job done and start another, get some beers with friends, hurry home to catch some shuteye before work tomorrow, bemoan Monday and hump along through Wednesday, wonder exactly what got accomplished, and TGIF but no time to fish, gotta rake and mow, winterize, and no time for church, wanna catch the early game…And then we’re 70 and where did the time go?

Quite a long time ago a counselor advised me to “STOP wearing a watch!  You’re looking at it all the time to check the time and time just moves along anyway and our time is up.”  And I did just that.  No more watch.  On an escape to Jamaica I learned “-ish” time and a reggae brushed, Marley music relaxation – sans the herb.  Slowly over time I began to notice the world around me, especially God’s creation of earth, plant, and animal – notice LIFE.  Time stuck me in a yesterday yearn for “I wish I’d got that done” or “if only I’d…”  I figured out quite a few items in the surroundings truly can take my breath away.  Yeah, we sure are controlled by time clocks and such – appointments, work schedules, baby feeding, laundry and about whatever else the world tosses at us.  Trying to save time too often has caused many a man and woman to open another bottle to escape the pursuit, to pop a pill cap or take a snort “just this one time to get away from it all.”

Dumping my watch helped me unbottle time, that tick-tock relentlessly going forward no matter what.  I poked my zero steer into a flowering bush at a business I mow, cut the motor, and watched the menagerie of bees and bugs alive on the petals and branches.  A bumble bee landed on my arm for a perspiration salted treat, his “fur” joining the goose bumps of “this might not end well.”  Just a little time painted into my imaginings and I moved on.  I cannot save time in a bottle, but I can take time and join the mysteries of God’s gifts in this life we have.

submitted by Dave Smith