blank'/> Mirth, Melancholy, and the Mundane: 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simple Pleasures (300 Words)

(I've decided to see what I can say in that magical 300 words that writers talk about so, here it is...300 words exactly not counting this explanation)

I don’t mind letting the dog out at 5 o’clock in the morning this week, when it has been relatively frigid.  For this to make sense, there are three things that are important to know…

First, I have low-level heat intolerance.  For this reason, I sleep in shorts and a T-shirt no matter the temperature so I don’t wake up too warm in the middle of the night feeling generally unwell.  Second, I use a twin-sized electric blanket on my queen-sized bed because I’m too cheap to replace it.  For a number of reasons, I don’t spend money easily on myself.  Third, I am not usually in charge of taking the dog out at night, that job falls to my husband.  Whenever he is out of town, however, the responsibility falls to me.  

Add these things together and you have an under-dressed groggy person standing on the back steps in the freezing cold because she did not have the wherewithal to grab a robe.  So, I stand there, shivering and looking at the stars, listening to the silence of a winter’s evening.  Our house is in front of a cemetery and so night time is a muted silence that reminds me of living in the country, except different.  It is a beautiful moment, despite the cold that makes me shiver to my very bones.  It is so peaceful that I do not mind the terrible cold for those few quiet moments.

Once I move back indoors and upstairs, I am enfolded softly into a warm and toasty bed that erases the cold in that delicious sinking feeling that I’m not sure I can replicate in any other way.  Except maybe a hot bath.

So, I don’t really mind letting the dog out at 5 o’clock in the morning this week…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

No Snow in Africa

I listen to a lot of Christmas carols this time of year; from Thanksgiving onward, it’s all I ever have on.  I have a Christmas station on Pandora, I can stream the radio station that I listen to in my car, and I even have an mp3 player that has nothing but carols on it that I unpack with my decorations.  The reason for this is simple – when the crunch of grading and the end of the semester comes, it’s the perfect background music.  Because all the songs (for the most part) are familiar, it is easy to tune them out.  But when I need a mental break from reading journals and papers, it’s ALWAYS a song that I know.   This method would not work for everyone and I try very hard not to foist my listening habits off on other people (except when I find fun songs like “The Christmas Can-Can” by Straight No Chaser), because I know that it would annoy a great number of people who are already stressed and busy themselves.  In the end, we all have different ways of coping and I’d rather my method not create more need for coping by others.

So, I love Christmas carols.

One of the interesting results of listening to them a lot, however, is that I find myself over-analyzing the lyrics and there are a number of them that sort of drive me crazy.  It likely doesn’t help that I’m already a little crazy this time of year.  I thought, however, it might be cathartic to share these irritations with my dedicated readers and perhaps purge myself of them in some way…

Here they are, in no particular order.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Well, tonight thank God it's them Instead of you.   Wow.  I love being lectured by Christmas music right after I’ve put a new, unwrapped toy in the Toys for Tots bin, dropped money in the red bucket, and delivered my non-perishable canned goods and my Angel Tree presents.   Other than that, this one bothers me for a number of reasons (though I can appreciate the attempt to raise awareness of the plight of others as we spend too much money on presents).  Do they know it's Christmas time at all?   Life for many in Africa truly is difficult, but the idea that poverty and hunger breed ignorance about global holidays (that have been somewhat taken over in the secular world) is a little irritating.  And unless they are Christians or taken in by the secular side of the holiday, why would they really care that it is Christmas anyway?   Also, it actually DOES snow in Africa in the mountains.   So there.

“An Old Christmas Card” – Why I know you must have looked through thousands of cards / To find that wonderful poem that still brings a tear to my eyes – BUT WHAT WAS THE POEM!?!   It’s like the Christmas version of Tenacious D when he sang a song which is not the greatest song in the world, but just a tribute.  Except not funny.

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” – This one changes depending on who is singing it, but one of the versions contains the phrase presents on the tree, which has always bothered me.  Unless you’re getting a lot of jewelry (not a bad thing, mind you), you’d best be careful putting presents ON the tree.  How about ‘under’ or even ‘round’ the tree?  The syllables are right, the rhythm is intact, and it makes a lot more sense.

 “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” – This whole song is creepy to me, but I’m trying to limit this analysis to a lyric here or there that stands out to me as being contradictory, nonsensical, or just plain silly.  So, while the entire song is a duet of her saying “No” and him pressuring her to say “Yes,” the line that really ruins it for me is, Say, what's in this drink. The song was written in 1944, so I’m sure it was much more innocent then – but, still, it’s just creepy.

“Do You Hear What I Hear?” – As the chain of information travels from the night wind to the lamb to the shepherd boy to the king, the solution to the problem of the baby’s cold is to bring him silver and gold – because THOSE will keep little Jesus warm.  Then again, we won’t even talk about how there wouldn’t have been flocks in the fields (and certainly not lambs) in December anyway.  That, however, is a whole other story.

“(Baby,) Please Come Home for Christmas” – This is the fastest story of an unexplained turn-around in fortunes.  In the first stanza, the sad and lonely narrator tells us that (usually) he [has] no friends / To wish [him] greetings once again.  In the very next stanza, however, we learn that friends and relations / send salutations.  Somehow, he managed to meet people and make friends in the time it took him to sing five lines.  And they still had time to send him cards.

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Now, while the title of this may be true, there’s one line that has always bothered me.  I have yet to meet anyone that has marshmallows for toasting at Christmas time.  Are we supposed to do so in the fireplace?  Or build a fire outside in the cold?  Now, what the line SHOULD be – so that the rhythm is right and the rhyme is preserved -- is 'chestnuts for roasting.'  I don’t know many people who do this either, but at least there’s a precedent set in another song.  Back to the marshmallows, though, if you decide you want some and you toast them outside where it's cold, I recommend taking some silver and gold with you.

So, let’s keep singing and loving our carols and running in from other rooms when we get to Fiiiive Gol-Den Riiiings, but I will continue to hear these little lines that are like a slightly off-key note in the musical tableaux that is Christmas celebration through song.

I am Just Another Blogger, and I think way too much about some things….

Monday, December 13, 2010

An Open Christmas Letter...

This is an open letter to all of those for whom Christmas has been tainted by the overwhelming social pressure to conform to forced generosity that seems to darken the act of giving with the rot of obligation.

It is to those for whom Christmas is borne from a religion that does not speak to the heart, though the story is a beautiful one of shining deeds of love and wisdom in a bygone time.

It is to those for whom days become irritatingly counted and shortened by the joyous displays that come to us when the days are still warm and the leaves are still dancing on late summer breezes.

It is for those who find the season the most painful time of the year for these reasons and for countless others.  My message is simple, but it comes from a heart that has learned to look past all of this to find the small joys and the deep warmth that can be all around us despite the cold days, the cold commercialism, the cold rush for the latest purchase, the cold bustle of days growing shorter even as the list of stresses grows longer.

Brush these disconnects aside and what is left...

Christmas is love; it is a time for family and warmth, for friends and laughter, for good cheer and good wishes.  I will forever believe that the holiday spirit can sink into even the bluest of hearts and so this is my Christmas message to those who need greater words of warmth, of happiness, of comfort, and of good wishes…

You have the power to touch lives; I know this because you have touched mine.  Each day I spend in this world is made brighter because you are a part of it.  The sun shines brighter, the snow is more beautiful, and the smiles come more willingly.  Friendship in all its myriad forms is one of the most powerful gifts we can both give and receive, and I am honored to call you one, even in passing, and I know I am not alone.  The love between you and your dearest friends is an amazing thing – two people who can be across the world, across the street, or across the room and share so much using whatever means are available and making them come alive.

Those who love you are never alone…for even when you are lost in a busy store or a thousand tasks, you are always in their hearts.  You are in thoughts and, for some, the arbitrary lines between family and friend are forever blurred.  Your friendship brings smiles to faces even though you may never see them.  The thought of you warms a heart, cheers a dark evening, brightens a snowy day.  Christmas, then, is 'just another reason' to remember all of those who have touched our lives and celebrate them.

In light of these thoughts, I will share my good wishes for you...

May the blue in your heart find red and green and the silver of a shining star. May your days be full of sunshine and blue skies…and should it snow, may a snowflake stay on the tip of your nose until you cannot help but smile.  May you feel the Christmas spirit you so richly deserve.  May you know that you are loved, that you have touched lives, and that each day you draw breath is cause for celebration.  Each day you spend on this earth is a day that brings someone – numerous someones – joy.  May this thought be what cuts through the darkness and may you know, now and always, that the darkness need never overwhelm your heart because you are, to me and countless others, a blessing.  You are the greatest gift.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun with Language, II

As a writing teacher and a lover of language, there are always things that are the earmarks of problematic writing.  Any writing educator will tell you that you cannot correct or even point out every single wrong in a paper or it would crush the already fragile confidence of a standard student.  Especially the community college student in an entry-level writing course.  These students have been told they can’t write for so long that they will write a two page essay explaining how they can’t write and be completely unaware of the irony of that.

So, we learn to address the bigger issues, target some of the smaller ones, and take it in small doses and move slower than the writer and perfectionist in us wants to move.  There are some big ticket items that I’m sure most (if not all) writing teachers will address, of course.  We would be remiss if we did not talk about thesis statements and transitions, for instance; additionally, many of us probably address sentence level things such as run-ons and fragments.  Beyond that, however, I would imagine that many of us have our ‘pet peeves’ – the things that fall under the more minor errors (in the big scheme of things) that we always seem to gravitate towards when working on feedback for a student.  Comma splices, dangling participles, passive voice, and the like are nails on a chalkboard and we hone in on them as if fixing this one small thing will open countless doors for students as they move deeper into the academic world.  And who knows, honestly...perhaps it will.

One of these items for me is the use of second person.  It’s my own personal crusade to rid student writing of inappropriate uses of the word ‘you’.  Note I say inappropriate – there are times when it’s a great writing device, but the problem is that students were taught to never, ever, under penalty of agony and pain, use ‘I’ in an academic paper.  So, where they would say “there is no greater joy than to hold my son” becomes “there is no greater joy than to hold your son.”  Now, as previously discussed in this blog, I don’t have children and, at this point in my life, I don’t plan to ever have them.  Now, it isn’t exactly insulting, but it’s not a very appropriate comment to make about someone whom you don’t know very well.  I am a fairly happy person and I’ve experienced heart-deep joy in my time – and it wasn’t with the child I don’t have.  Students do this all the time – one of the most telling moments for me was when a student wrote a paper arguing for stricter drunk driving laws and he told me how I would feel as a victim of such a driver – and he was wrong.  What he described did not fit my situation, and I had been there.  It only took the introduction for the student to alienate me and irritate me.  It was not my most comfortable grading moment.  Most uses of it are fairly innocuous, however, with students telling me what I expect when I read a story or what I see when I walk into their bedroom (Don’t panic – I’ve only seen this in a paper where they explore identity by describing a place).

For these more light-hearted uses, I’ve been known to write things in the margins like “I DO think that?  How do you know?!” or “Should I be worried that you can read my mind?” and I’m not sure that this is tremendously right of me to do, but my tendency towards sarcasm gets the better of me.  If it’s any consolation, though, I add a smiley afterwards.  And let’s be honest, my students expect sarcasm from me at this point...

There are also uses of it beyond the classroom and I tend to employ a healthy dose of sarcasm then, too.  It happens all the time in everyday speech.  Listen to those around you, and I’m sure you’ll find you’re doing all sorts of things of which you weren’t aware.  “When you walk into the store,” ”When you order at McDonald’s,” “If you hold your iPhone in a certain way, “You should get your first prostate exam when you are 40” and all sorts of fun things that, quite frankly, don’t apply to you.

Or is that me?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Introspective Volcanos

My home life is interesting of late.  Not in terms of relationships or family or anything of the sort; it is simply that our physical space has been uprooted in a way that I find to be more fundamentally unsettling than moving.  We are in the process of completely renovating our kitchen.  On Hallowe’en, friends and family gathered to help us remove all of the cupboards, the ceiling tiles, the plaster and lathe walls, the mice nests, the nails, and everything else that was in the way.  Then, on All Saint’s Day, the two of us chipped away at two layers of horrid flooring that was glued and brittle.  There is no better word than ‘chipped.’  We used ice choppers.

Before all that, however, there was an interesting rearrangement of the entire downstairs.  This shifting called into question something that we generally take for granted; for, when it comes to layouts of rooms, a certain number of conventions are generally followed whether we are aware of them or not.  We store our food and cooking implements in the kitchen, our fancy eating accoutrements in the dining room, the comfortable seating in the living room, and some odds-and-ends of welcoming in a foyer or vestibule.  This, in our house, is completely upside down and as a result, much of our sense of place is also turned upside down.

This is what we did.  We slid the fridge into the dining room and plugged it in.  Then we realized it was on a slight dip in the floor so we have to push the door hard to make sure it stays closed.  In front of the fridge is a large cardboard box filled with various food items.  There is no rhyme or reason – the box has everything from tea to oatmeal, from crackers to spices, from granola bars to peanut butter.  I don’t even know what’s on the bottom anymore. We just keep peeling things off the top to get by.  We also moved the stove into the dining room, which is making the somewhat small, burgundy colored space look a little cramped.  Especially with the food-preparation table, the toaster, the dishes, and another cardboard box.  The stove, which is gas, is not actually plugged in, so it’s being used as a dust collector and Holder of Things.  We also had the microwave in here, but it turns out that if we ran the microwave for more than 30 seconds, it blew a circuit because of the fridge.  So, the microwave, and the crock pot, are both on TV trays in the foyer.  It makes perfect sense – writing desk, lamp, globe, slow cooker, dust.

Our living room has nothing living in it because, along with the layer of dust, it is filled with approximately 18 cabinets in various stages of not-put-togetherness.  Tall ones, fat ones, drawers, parts, toe-kicks, cardboard corner-protectors, squishy foam protective wraps, shrink wrap, directions, dust.  When I look at it, the thing that runs first and foremost in my mind is gratitude that it is not me who has to make sense of it.

We also ripped out a closet (which, ironically, was not a very good closet even before all of this happened) and now have a back hall that is as empty as the kitchen.  But at least it is not filled with inadequate closet any longer.

So, what does it all mean? Our foyer is a squalid apartment kitchen, our dining room is a studio apartment kitchen with a bad landlord, our living room is a self storage area for disorganized people and, until recently, our kitchen looked like an attached shed.  It has upgraded now, with drywall, but it still has a ways to go.  As I paint and watch cabinets go in, I’m sure my ideas will change.  For now, however, I’m mystified by how unsettling it can be to put one’s house into a contractor’s snow globe and then wait for the drywall snow to settle.  It feels a little like the dust is but ashes and our living space is but a smaller version of Mt. Vesuvius.

All of this said, however, I must side with the optimists.  They say that the kitchen is the heart of any home, and what I’m learning during this process is that it keeps beating even when you gut it completely and coat it with a fine layer of white dust.

But, still, I long to bake cookies.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bimmie

Today is my brother’s birthday.  This is for him.

A month ago, I wrote about the relationship I had with my sister and how special it was to me.  What I have with my brother is no less important to me and has had no less influence on who I am today.  But that influence is very, very different.

I made mention in that blog of how I spent more of my time with him and as I think back to those years, it amazes me to think about how much of who I am I owe to him.  I’m not sure I can entirely blame the tomboy part of myself on him, but he certainly had a big hand in it.  I don’t know if he ever really thinks about it, but I am who I am because of him. I read fantasy novels and mysteries, I’m a gamer, I love computers and technology.  All of these are such an integral part of who I am and they all came from him in some way or another.

I may have been socially awkward, but when I borrowed books from my brother, I could get lost in Pern or Xanth or Middle Earth.  I don’t have a conscious memory of wanting to read those books because he did – I don’t recall looking up to him that actively.  It may have simply been a case of there not being any other books around that looked interesting to me.   But, it didn’t matter.  What mattered is that I started reading them and was hooked.  Fast forward a couple of decades and I wrote doctoral field exams on contemporary fantasy fiction and wrote a dissertation on Harry Potter.    Those moments in my career had their seeds in him.

I may have had no idea how to keep white clothes even remotely clean, but I could explore the world of computer games pretty well.  I remember sitting in a brown comfy chair that my brother had in his room and playing Nethack on a monochrome monitor in the times I had when he was at school and I was not.  I remember playing Gauntlet on a split screen as we sat side by side in his room.  I would drag my desk chair into his room and we played for hours.  I may have gotten yelled at for not being very good at them, but in those hours together a gamer was born and from those roots as a gamer, a love of technology was born.  Fast forward a couple of decades and find me firmly established as the Humanities professor whose niche is technology:  I sit on technology committees, I use technology in my classrooms, I go to conferences centered on its use.  I married a gamer whom I met in a game, some of my friends are gamers, I still play games.  These moments in my life and career had their seeds in him.

In short, when I say I am proud to be a geek -- it's because my brother helped make me one.

There are so many little things we shared growing up – from the nickname he gave me to Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes.  My brother was no less socially awkward than I was, but we had such fun times regardless of that.  We hung out and watched movies, listened to music, played games.  We worked together, even, when we got older.  We used to go to the mall all the time, and it was a very different trip than with my sister.  In fact, I can’t even remember anything we did there – I just remember walking around relatively quickly and having a great time.  We went to concerts, too.  We used to go see REO Speedwagon every year, including the year I was in the hospital until just a few days before the concert.  I always felt safe with him, despite the noise and the crowds.

Even when I went away to college, he would come up and spend the weekend in my dorm room and we’d do all the same kinds of things.  He joined a group of us who went up to Toronto to see The Phantom of the Opera.  I think he drove entirely around Lake Ontario that weekend.  When I went on to my Masters and my Doctorate, he’d do the same thing.  We may not have talked much on the phone or wrote letters, but we got together often enough that it didn’t matter.   A perfect example of this kind of unspoken relationship we have happened in the early days of electronic communication.  It was birthday season in my family and, being a college student, I was running low on cash.  I wrote to my brother and asked him if he could help out -- just a little something to help me get by.  My parents were coming up that weekend and they brought with them some new CDs that I had ordered through his CD club (back when Columbia House was cool).  It wasn’t until after mom and dad left and I was opening the CDs that I noticed one of them was slit along the side.  When I opened it the rest of the way, there was a $20 bill inside.   This is the kind of thing he does – he may not be demonstrative of his affection for his little sisters, but it’s always there.

I owe a good portion of who I am to the influence my brother had on me growing up -- he is goofy and fun and weird and a little crazy.  I can’t even really express how ecstatic I am that he has found someone who loves him for who he is and makes him happy.  He deserves it; though, I will admit that sometimes I miss the dedicated time we used to have to hang out at the mall, eat fast food and stay up too late playing games before I crashed on his couch.  I love my brother and I admire the personal strength he has had to get through the tough times and I’m so proud of where he is now.  He will always be my big brother and I will always treasure the memories we have made and the ones I’m sure we will keep making.

So, big brother, want to go to the mall?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Edith Cady

This is not a new piece, but it's one not everyone has heard -- or seen with the italics intact.  The italics are phrases that were lifted directly from the newspaper accounts of the event told therein.  Enjoy...

It was May, 1940 and with the coming of warmer weather, Mrs. Cady had returned to her upstairs bedroom.  She had been accustomed to sleep in the lower floor when the weather was cold, but spring was in full bloom the night that he drove from his cabin…lifted his carefully-tended 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun and went to her home.  I do not know how deeply she slept, or what dreams she had, but it would seem she did not hear any sound as Morris picked his way up the stairs.  He had already unlatched a screen door and gained entrance to the first floor… 

Earlier that week, Morris visited Mrs. Cady and was warned by her to stay away.  But this night, the boarding house was quiet, and it seemed she had no reason to fear for her life.  Her boarders were sleeping in their rooms, two old-age pensioners who made their home with Mrs. Cady.  It is true that they lived in the sparsely settled Fox Hill section, but she was a native of Batchellerville.  She had always known the town and had lived there all her life.  On this night, however, that life would find its end…

Mrs. Edith Cady is Slain in Home.  The headlines sound cold, even now.  She was 61 years old and I can find no other records of her life or death.  Three yellowed newspaper articles pulled from an envelope in the attic of a house where my grandfather lived.  Mrs. Edith Cady was my second great grand aunt, the daughter of the late Stephen and Sarah Blodgett Cady.  Her sister, Sarah Cady, would marry my great great grandfather and continue the family tree through their daughter Blanche, who married my great grandfather.  They bore a son, who bore a son, who bore me. 

It is no doubt that family trees are webs of fascination and mystery, and as I build mine from the scraps of names and dates on a century’s worth of scattered pages, my mind keeps returning to Mrs. Edith Cady and what her life and death meant.  I try to imagine what it must have been like for her…

“I was awakened by a shot” one of the boarders told officials, and as he opened his door, Mrs. Cady fell out of her doorway onto the hall floor.  They found her murderer in her room, lying on a mattress on the floor after he turned his death-dealing shotgun upon himself.   There are precious few other details given.  Only dates and times, an incorrect list of Mrs. Cady’s survivors, and a brief comment that her death was the execution of a threat made a year ago, according to Dr. Eaton, the Saratoga County coroner, who heard it from Erwin Conklin of Northville.  Tantalizing details that tug at my imagination until I think I hear the sad voice of a woman who longs for a legacy beyond simply the victim.  Indeed more is told of his life than of hers; he is the lumberjack and World War veteran who creeps into house, shoots her out of jealousy, then wounds self.   I read over and over again that he lived at the boarding house for about two years subsequent to leaving his wife.  Two months prior to this fateful May night, he went to live in a cabin about two miles down the Fox Hill road.  I wonder why…just one question in a series of them that roll through my mind in an unending series of echoes.

I wonder who she was.  I wonder about her story.   Sometimes I imagine that she spurned his advances, uninterested in this day laborer who was sixteen years her junior.   I imagine he loved her, and yet she was aloof from him.  In her strong and willful way, she ejects him from her boarding house for some unknown transgression.  Aye, she is always strong in my mind…a woman of iron will who had no fear about living in the boarding house with just two octogenarians to keep her company.  She casts off his threats and refuses to change her life for his whims.  He is the spurned suitor struggling to control the blind rage of jealous rejection and carefully planning her death and his own.  Sometimes, the story moves from the heart to matters colder and sometimes more powerful.  Perhaps his jealousy was born from watching this fiercely independent woman succeed with no husband at her side.  For, in the manner of the time, she is called Mrs. at every instance, but no detail is given about whom she had once married and she retains her Christian name.  Even has my mind’s pen scrawls stories in the pages of imagination, I am confounded by the mysteries.  Her ghost dances alone, and I wonder if she perhaps never married at all, and only took the honorific to soothe judgmental sensibilities.  For I can also find no other mention of her daughter Mrs. George Edwards, of Gloversville or of the grandson and great grandson who survived her.  Burial was in the Edinburg cemetery, where ten years later, her brother was buried by her and despite the 24-hour vigil at the hospital as her killer lay languishing and the coroner’s plans to carry the investigation further before rendering a verdict, there are no other scraps of paper.  The story just ends.  But it will never end.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

To everything...

Time is interesting to me of late.  Perhaps it’s because I’m finally utilizing a calendar and it’s actually helping me to not forget meetings.  Perhaps it is because I’m more aware of the days and seasons because of events that have unfolded over the last year or so.  Perhaps it is simply because I’ve been so ridiculously busy that I’m more aware of how I’m occupying each of my days and I’m accepting the sacrifices I have to make to keep my head above water for at least long enough to breathe.  All or none of these, it’s just something I’ve been mulling over.

One of the things that I have been thinking about is how, no matter what we do or say, time moves forward at exactly the same pace.  Each second counting out the minutes counting out the hours, the days, the weeks and so on.  I’m no scientist, nor am I a purist, so I’m not going to go into the kinds of anomalies with our clocks and calendars that make us, for instance, add a day every four years just to keep it right.

Rather, what interests me is our linguistic need to control time in ways that are really psychological tricks designed to give us the sense that we have some power over that which plods on, relentless and uncaring.  It does not slow or speed up, it does not stop or wait.  It just moves forward, the steady passing of moments that lead into ages.

We talk of the things that time does, and the language of control relating to time is so prevalent that I imagine few ever stop to think about it.  No matter our words or thoughts, time can only ever move forward, endlessly marking the passing of our lives through our imperfect devices.  We speak of it in words of control, as if to lessen the blow that there is this thing that controls us in every way and we have no power over it.  It is unyielding in its march into eternity.  Our language cannot change the fact that we cannot stop it, change it, manipulate it, or touch any way.

We have it or we do not, as if it were a commodity, the latest fashion that needs our attention so that we can be cool.  We save it as if it were money, as if it were something that could be gathered and set aside for a rainy day.  We spend it, as if it were that same money and we have traded it for some moment dedicated to a task in which we find regret or satisfaction.  We claim to make time – as if we were some grand artisan who could fashion such a thing from the unlikeliest of materials.   We lose track of it, as if it were a small child momentarily slipping out of our sight in a crowded store.   Sometimes, we find it again, easing our lives because we can accomplish that much more by clever manipulation.  We speak of time management, as if we simply need to corral a cadre of workers in need of our guidance to become a well-oiled machine.  We pass time like a quarterback to a wide receiver on a lazy Sunday afternoon in October.   We have down time and leisure time; we have standard times and daylight savings times.  We waste, take, run out of, bide, and ask for more time. 

We even kill it.

Our language even gives time autonomy – breathing life into it so that perhaps we can learn how to bend it to our will, as we bend others to our wills during the course of any given day.  Time flies, time crawls, time will tell, time heals, we can race it and be ahead or behind it,

We measure its value by our own standards, having and finding good times, lamenting the bad times, enjoying quality time, celebrating the perfect time; time can be wrong or right, time can be trivialized to be just a matter.  Time goes by.

The Byrds and the Bible speak of time in much this way, telling us that there is a time to every purpose under the heaven.  This may be true, but it is to the chagrin and pain of mankind that this moment will not be of our choosing, and we are ever the slaves of each tick of the clock, each shift of the sun, each tide of the ocean, each phase of the moon. 

And what really gets us?  The truth was told by an Irish actor and playwright by the name of Dion Boucicault.

“Men talk of killing time, while time quietly kills them”

And with that, my time here has ended...

Be well, gentle readers.