The trouble with time is that it only flows in one direction – forward. Memory offers a small impediment to its march. I can look backward to see where I’ve been… if I can remember to look back. I can create stitches in time by meditating or being bored, but it’s still a river wending its way toward a vast, absorbing ocean.
When I was working, I was always in a footrace with the clock. Now, with so many goals still on my bucket list, I’m having difficulty keeping up. The world appears like a giant kaleidoscope, ever changing with little opportunity to rest, accept at bedtime, toward I crawl with gratitude.
Diane Ackerman, an essayist and naturalist whose writings I love, doesn’t agree with my assessment. In a recent article, she encourages us to consider the clock as our friend. (“A Loophole in Time,” “More Magazine, 4/12) Being conscious of the march of minutes and hours awakens us “to what really matters,” she writes. What’s more, that consciousness reminds us to schedule leisure moments for ourselves.
Her observation is positive and Ackerman is such a beautiful writer it’s easy to be swayed by her. But not on this occasion. I’m old enough to know there’s a reason why we call that timepiece beside our beds an alarm clock.