Time

It occurs to me that perhaps a blog is a gathering of thoughtful, creative people who love to write and consider the world at large.  What is going on?  How do we live?

Perhaps the conventional wisdom is that the blog creator is the source—of content, of structure, of direction, of wisdom.  I’m not sure I agree.  I’ve read your stuff.  In awe!  Is it all good?  Well no, but that’s not the point.  The point is that here, at times, you post things that take my/our breath away.  Some times, you find your power and post it here.

With that in mind, I have been wondering about the issue of time.  How can we tame it?  How do we make it do our bidding?  I, like other humans for some centuries past, have created this concept of measuring units so I can get a grasp of ideas such as past, present, future, and also our ability to master time, to own it, to use it to our own advantage.  But that bastard, time, is elusive!  He won’t heel.  He won’t stretch when I need him to stretch.  He won’t wallow, when I need space.  He even grabbed a gender without my noticing! 

Oh me.  Oh us!  Please think about and share your time with me.

36 responses to “Time

  1. The prompt “Time” brings a little Jim Croce to mind:

    “If I could save time in a bottle,
    the first thing that I’d like to do.
    Is to save everyday like a treasure and then,
    again, I would spend it with you.”

    At least that’s how I remember it, but I haven’t had my first cup of coffee yet this morning. More on time when the sand falls from my eyes.

    • Not surprising, I got the lyrics all wrong, it should read thus:

      If I could save time in a bottle
      The first thing that Id like to do
      Is to save every day
      Till eternity passes away
      Just to spend them with you

      If I could make days last forever
      If words could make wishes come true
      Id save every day like a treasure and then,
      Again, I would spend them with you

  2. Since no one else is playing, I’ll add another, starring our good friends Martha and John.

    “It’s about time, John,” Martha said as she rolled her eyes, “We’re going to miss the bus.”

    “Chill, Mart ole gal, the big hand isn’t on the twelve yet, there’s lots of time left.”

    Martha gave one of her “looks” and turned to look down the street for the bus, “There was a time you wouldn’t have kept me waiting.”

    John reminded her, “Time after time I’ve told you, nothing has changed in my feelings for you. I love you as much now as I did yesterday, last week, last month, last year.”

    “I know, I’m sorry, but ever since we didn’t get to the hospital in time, and they had to cut off my, well, I don’t want to talk about that anymore. Did you make reservations?”

    “Yes, I did. At the time we wanted, and at the table we wanted. To top it off your favorite jazz band is going to be playing.” John was excited about their night.

    Martha’s attitude picked up, “You mean Clockworks Orange? It’s about time we get to see them. I have all their albums.”

    John muttered, “Yeah, it’s about time.”

  3. Barbara Burris

    If I’ve learned anything, it’s that time is relative and never constant.

    When I was little, Mom frequently cautioned me to behave. If Daddy became too upset, he’d have an asthma attack, she said. The doctor had told her if that happened, he might die.

    Whether she meant it to or not, the message Mom imparted to me had an even bigger impact. I’d been born asthmatic. Comparisons were often drawn between Dad’s and my breathing difficulties. Although Mom never said it, to my limited thinking, the same dire fate also applied to me. From the time I could grasp the concept, at around age five, I sincerely believed I would not live a very long life. Time for me became scarce. I started trying to be kinder to my grandma and observing more of the people around me as though I could somehow take these memories with me when I went. I was aware that each day could be my last day. Curiously, I began to refer to myself in the third person. This went on until my older sister caught me and told me to cut it out because I might upset Dad.

    Summers were spent with my sister and five cousins in Grandma’s tiny cottage along the mighty muddy Fox River. The youngest by over six years, I had little in common with the older children who swam and rode bikes. They didn’t want to risk being stuck with me if I had an asthma attack, so I played alone much of the time. Grandma tried to find things for me to do, but keeping up with seven kids left her little extra energy. Grandma told me that when she was age three, her mom died. She said she used to lie on her back out on the lawn watching the fluffy white clouds for signs of her mother in heaven and suggested I might do the same. I tried it until I realized I’d never seen my great grandmother, so I had no idea what I was looking for and gave up. The summers were hot and sultry. My breathing was laborious and days seemed to go on forever.

    By age sixteen, I’d figured out I wasn’t going to be dying any time soon – at least not unless I kept flying through the countryside with Phil in his teeny tiny sports car. Time was rushing past so quickly I could scarcely keep up. My job kept me busy most evenings and school kept me busy during the day. Trying to keep boyfriends Phil, Michael and Larry from finding out about one another kept me busy the rest of the time.

    At age twenty-one, I spent the better part of three months in bed trying to avoid having a miscarriage. Time once again slowed to a crawl as I waited for the inevitable.

    Thirty-two years old and newly divorced, I moved from the safety and comfort of the country and took a job in a huge corporate office working eighty hour weeks. Through with men and studiously avoiding life in general, I buried my self in my job. My motto became ‘All work and no play keeps the pain away’. Time flew. Months passed without my even noticing – until I met him.

    His smile was bright as the sun in a cobalt sky on a crisp autumn afternoon. I watched the second hand lazily sweep around the clock face as I waited for his calls. Moments we were apart took forever to pass. And then it was our wedding day. In a single heartbeat, time shifted yet again because we did not begin our life together as two, but as five.

    For a dad and step-mom to three grade-schoolers, there weren’t enough hours in any day or night, for that matter. Someone needed a ride to basketball practice. Someone had the flu. Someone needed help with homework. Someone had a loose tooth. Someone needed a new dress for the dance. Someone had a cough. Someone was acting in a play. Someone had a baseball game. Someone needed…Someone needed… The sound of panting was ever present as we tried to keep up as life spun past. Then as suddenly as it had begun, it ended and all was silent.

    The ticking of old clocks marks the time for us now, if we care to listen. Most days we get up when the sun brightens the room, rarely before. We casually stroll through the woods, noticing the wildflowers. We plant new perennials in the beds. We toss a ball for the dog as we relax on the porch swing after supper where we sip sweetened coffee until the sun goes down. We spend the time we saved up all these years by running from place to place, visiting with friends and lazily enjoying a boat tour across the lake.

    But then it’s Sunday and the kids arrive late. Breathless, they’re anxious to go to brunch. Standing aside and out of the action, we watch in amazement as they scurry around with diaper bags and formula. Someone needs a change. Someone needs a bottle. Daddy checks his watch as Mommy burps the baby. There’s a mess. It has to be cleaned. Someone’s crying. They have to be soothed.

    Problems solved, temporarily at least, the caravan is off to the restaurant. Daddy is anxious. He drives his big SUV fast because we’re late. Grandparents are amused. We drive our little sports car slowly because we know it doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t. The restaurant is still empty when we arrive. Brunch is delicious and fun. For two hours time is suspended while laughter and relaxation become the theme. But one quick glance at a watch moves the gear forward and the flurry of activity begins anew. We are like cartoon characters whose eyes roll in dizziness as we attempt to hug, kiss, pat and squeeze our significant others as they zoom past us, out the revolving door of the restaurant.

    Silence. They’re gone. We take a deep breath and laugh as we get into our car. Slowly, comfortably, we drive the meandering road through the countryside, noticing the wildflowers. At home we change into comfy clothes and take our happy puppy for a walk in the woods. Time moves slower for us now and we don’t mind it one bit.

  4. I loved reading your submission. You are a excellent writer, by the way. I appreciate how you viewed the passage of time from several periods of your life. You’ve shared some personal moments and I feel like I lived them with you.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on time and all the rest.

  5. Barbara Burris

    Thanks, Shaddy. You’re very kind. I’m certainly not as skilled as you all are, though. I’ve seen some pretty amazing submissions here. It’s fun to be a part of this lively and talented group.

    • I beg to differ with you. You ARE as skilled and are definitely an important part of “this lively and talented group.”

      It is great fun, isn’t it.

  6. I’m going to open a shop and name it “All The Time In The World.” The shop walls will be lined with shelves containing bottles of time.

    One area will contain bottles with bold labels promising shoppers Down Time. Atop brightly painted shelves will be multi-colored bottles filled with Nap Time, TV Time, Reading Time and Yoga Time, all capped tightly.

    Another wall will be stocked with bottles specifically for the all important Social Time. One on One Time, Family Time, Good Times (sold in a 2-Pack due to its anticipated universal popularity), Play Time and Friend Time bottles will overflow the purple and orange shelves on that side of the store.

    The Self-Improvement Time section will be well-stocked with bottles labeled Exercise Time, Prayer Time, Being On Time, Making Up for Lost Time, Over Time and Doing Double Time.

    A Miscellaneous Time display will stand beside the checkout counter. Spare Time, Free Time, Fond Memory Time, and Saving Time will rotate on a circular rack.

    I honestly believe that in this day and age, I can bottle time, sell it and make a fortune.

    Nobody has enough time, or at least, nobody thinks they have enough time. Everybody longs for more time to relax, to sleep, to exercise and to read. They want time they’ve lost, family time, prayer time, down time and, most often, a good time.

    Every bottle will have an instruction label printed with three colored squares stuck to its side. The consumer will be required to write the start time in the top square, the amount of time he wants to spend doing the activity in the middle square. He then adds these two numbers together and writes the total, the activity stop time, in the bottom square.

    After selecting the appropriate bottle to suit his needs and after filling in the squares, he simply shakes the bottle gently, twists off the bottle cap and his choice of essence of time will flow up and out of the bottle and drift in every direction. Each and every bottle is guaranteed to contain scent-free air which envelops the senses and insures that the consumer’s entire focus will be on the selected activity.

    The selling price per bottle will be $5. Instructions will remind the buyer that he paid for this time so he must not let anything interfere with it. I repeat, not anything. Specifically, he will be advised to keep the bottle close and be prepared to use it to ward off any individual or individuals who attempt to interrupt his special time. Simply grasping the bottle and raising it above the owner’s head will be effective in most cases.

    The manufacturing of my products will be quite simple since every bottle will contain exactly the same thing. Nothing. (Now that detail, I trust, will remain solely between you and me). The instructions on each and every bottle will be identical; consumers don’t like to be confused. My factory inventory will be consist of little more than the bottles, labels, twist-0ff caps and packing boxes.

    Time is so very, very precious. If consumers are convinced they can buy time, I think its within my civic duty to supply their needs in the best way I know how.

    Besides that, I’m a starving artist looking anywhere for her next meal.

    • Jim Croce would be proud of you. Could I have a case of Writing Time please.

      • Of course, it was your submission that inspired mine. I’ll get a case off to you ASAP.

        Do I just address the box to Walk, Oklahoma? I would bet that everybody in the state knows you and will eventually get the shipment to you.

  7. Barbara Burris

    Wow! Shaddy, this is an incredibly clever idea. A fast, fun read.

  8. Life.

    What is life but a set amount of time on this earth. When we are born that set amount starts ticking. Each one of us has a set amount of time, and like fingerprints, that amount is different for each of us.

    So, if we have a set amount of time in this period that we call life, how are we going to spend it? Being a grouch, complaining because the waitress didn’t get your tea glass filled the minute it was empty. How about that ole gal that’s driving the speed limit and keeping you from rushing to wherever, is it worth bitching at her?

    Or how about spending more time with someone. Not only a loved one, that’s easy, but how about at the bedside of someone with HIV. Or talking to the town bum. How about holding your lover’s hand as you cross the street.

    Spending time. We’re rich with it when we’re born. We grow poorer each day as we spend our life in our everyday routine. One day, we never know when, we will be bankrupt of time, our life will have been spent, and we’ll go the way of our elders, not another second to make a difference in someone’s life.

    I hope each one of us will impact someone, touch someone, help someone, before time is up.

    • Rest assured, Walk, that you have touched me with many of your written words.

    • Barbara Burris

      Hi Walk,

      I hear your grief in this writing and the awareness that comes to us after losing someone we love. Keep writing and writing everything you feel. It helped me, I’m thinking it will help you also.

  9. Please click on my underlined name above to go to my blog to see what I did today.

    I reckon my blog post for today has something to do with time since I spend a big chunk of mine in training for events like the biathlon.

    • Barbara Burris

      Hi Shaddy,

      I went to the blog. (What does that mean, anyway?) I was surprised to find we live not far apart as I am also living in S. Wisconsin. I am not a cheesehead, however, but a transplanted flatlander. My native friends inform me that I can never become a true cheesehead. I’m not so certain I’d want to since I grew up a Bears fan and never liked the combination of yellow and green, which I always likened to hog scours. (diarrhea)

      If you ever bike the rustic roads around Lk. Geneva, look me up!

  10. Lake Geneva. We used to take our pleasure boat there to water ski and to view the beautiful homes. We’ve walked sections of the path that runs along the shore several times.

    Our favorite restaurant is Popeye’s, in downtown Lake Geneva, right on the lake. We should meet there sometime.

    I don’t know where the word “blog” originated. I like to think it has to do with us writers who tend to go on and on with words. The place where this blah, blah, blahing is highly respected and even encouraged was given the name, “blahg” which was soon shortened to “blog.”

    Any other ideas out there?

  11. Bloviating weblog?

  12. I’ve never been one to worry about time. I pretty much lived on my own schedule, and didn’t care what limits others put on me. I’d get up when I was rested, put in my work day, and finish the day whatever direction my muse would take me.

    But here lately, time has been valuable to me. I live each minute learning and trying new experiences, at least as many as I can in my confined space. I know that my time is limited. I know that before long my debts will have been paid. I know that because I hear their steps now, the slow clip clip clip of their leather soles on the concrete floor.

    I see them now, the priest, the two officers, and the warden. Isn’t it funny that they have such a glum look on their face. You know they are happy that someone like me is leaving this earth. It is bound to be a safer place for mankind after all.

    Well, time’s up. I’m sure it will be a hair raising experience.

    • My goodness, Walk. What have you done to deserve the electric chair? I’ve known for quite some time that you’re a questionable character, but prison and a hair raising pre-death experience in your short future?

      Why didn’t you tell them to call me as a character witness? I would have lied and told them you are a perfect angel/man whose only stains are your constant tendencies toward the romantic and your wayfaring walk. I’d tell them you even attempted to upgrade from a walk to a run but your sportsbra gave out before you took a dozen strides.

      It’s not too late. You’re still posting here so you’re not dead yet. Ring me up. You know I’ll come a running!!

  13. Barbara Burris

    Just in time!

  14. Barbara Burris

    Time off for good behavior,
    Time out for bad behavior.
    Keeping time while
    Making time.
    Free time.
    Good times.
    Bad times.
    Old time.
    Time stands still.
    Time waits for no man.
    ‘Til the end of time.
    I’m out of time…

    • You covered a whole bunch of “time” in a mere dozen short lines. I’m sorry you ran out of time.

      I have a substantial stock of “Writing Time” bottles which I just labeled and capped yesterday. I offer a discount to my writing friends: A case of a dozen bottles for $30, half the normal price.

      I’ll even throw in a free notepad for those moments when you get an inspiration on the road…

      …and a freshly sharpened pencil for writing in the notepad

      …and a $10 coupon toward your second order

      …that’s quite a deal, don’t you agree, Barb.

  15. Time takes flight and is out of sight when we’re having fun.

    Time moves like a lethargic turtle and each hour is a week long when we’re down in the dumps.

    As I get older, it seems I’m changing the month on my calendar almost as often as I change my underwear. The month of May just began yesterday and tomorrow is already the twentieth.

    Time passes most quickly for me when I’m writing. I can lose two hours in what seems like half an hour.

    I don’t have to tell you this, but I will anyway:

    TIME TAKES FLIGHT AND IS OUT OF SIGHT WHEN I’M WRITING.

    When does time fly for you?

  16. Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    It echoed in her head.

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    Sweat beads on her forehead. Her neck tenses with each resounding

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    She straightens her bra strap and ran her fingers through her hair.

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    The clock chimes, it’s 6:00. Her heart races.

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    She jumps at the knock at the door.

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    Her mouth dry, she opens the door.

    Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock.

    “Hi, I’m George Clooney, your blind date.

  17. I usually think of time as a flowing thing, until now. I’m staring at the clock on the wall beyond my work desk. The second hand on this clock jumps from one second to the next. While the hour and minute hands appear to be indifferent to the game of leap frog going on in their midst, I’d like to speed up that skinny salamander.

    I can’t do anything to him because there’s a layer of plastic between me and he. I rapped on the plastic with my knuckles; I stuck my tongue out at him; I crossed my eyes, squinted, scowled and shook my fist at him.

    I’ve never run across anyone so indifferent to me. His jerky motions are extremely irritating, in fact, they appear defiant.

    I’d like to rip him off the wall and give him a good shaking. To tell you the truth, I don’t think any of the hands behind the plastic care one way or the other what I do or don’t do.

    Obviously, they’re dedicated to their job of keeping time. Perhaps I should earn from them.

    Bye.

  18. Correction to above: I should learn from them.

  19. It’s time. One a year it is time. Time to remember the heroes that have kept us free. From beaches, forest, deserts, mountains, below the sea, from anywhere there is someone or something that threatens freedom, they are there. For those we are remembering this weekend, the fallen heroes, thanks isn’t enough. You didn’t have enough time with your family, you never saw your baby let alone make it to retirement. To those serving around the world, this grateful American proudly thanks you, prays for you, and looks forward to the time you’ll come home.

    Thank you

    • You said it all, Walk, and you said it well.

      Now I’d like to quote your words in my submission, “To those serving around the world, this grateful American proudly thanks you, prays for you, and looks forward to the time you’ll come home.”

      I couldn’t have said it better.

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