We wander down the paths of our lives never knowing what rounds the next bend. Dawn gives way to day and then to night. We rush to fill our hours with tasks that we feel we must in hopes that time will not shortchange us. Therein lies the myth. If we hurry then we will somehow manage that little oasis of time for ourselves.
Mother Nature, Mother Earth, Father Time, and the Specter of Mortality all shake their heads at us. It's something we humans cannot seem to learn. Well, at least some of us can't.
We are those that exhaustively reach for that elusive scent of roses as we blast past hoping that later, just a little later, we'll have time. It's that hope that sustains us. Our jobs are high-pressure and demand more than we have at the ready until the time clock gongs the end. This is only to be followed by after work/school events for our children, the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking, and whatever else is deemed necessary by us to be done each day.
I've read in a book somewhere a line that says, "Each thing I do I rush through so I can do something else." It's apropos to how I feel most days. I've fallen asleep with that line a litany in my mind.
We mark our days by our achievements or tasks completed. That's not what we are supposed to always be doing. A tic list is NOT what life is about, though we are often left feeling like it is.
Then there are the memories of those halcyon days when thoughts and duties of tomorrow never occurred. It was now and today and all the possibilities that lay before us. It might have been a bracing bicycle ride through the neighborhood after ensuring the stiff new playing cards were clipped to the spokes to announce presence and passage. It could have been sneaking up the big tree in the backyard for a view that was worth the punishment if caught up there. There were the endless possibilities of ghost stories in the dark, bonfires to roast marshmallows or hotdogs over. Trips to Grandma's house, cloud watching, getting into trouble with my sisters, a good old movie on the television, or a better book to closet myself with. The family might go camping or visiting or just anything might happen.
Even with the chores it wasn't too bad. Back then, after spending hours mowing the lawn, it was beautiful and smelled divine. Even hot and sweaty, it was a joy just to stop and enjoy the view from beneath the shade of the big maple. The housecleaning was only a part, not all.
What happened? Enjoying life just used to be part of life, not something to be waited for or earned. When we gleefully exchanged our freedom to HAVE LIVES OF OUR OWN, then something seemed to get left out. Suddenly there were bills to pay, more chores to oversee, and the worries mounted. It didn't really matter for we were young, strong, eager, and had eternity at our bidding. Time was nothing. Oh, there might be work, but there was always time for play too.
We traded in that innocuous sphere our freedom for responsibilities thinking of the promises we had long ago made to ourselves. Surely this would be a step up. We'd become adults. Adults, in our childish minds, could do anything they pleased. Life would be overflowing with joy, not simply filled with it. We rushed to embrace it.
When it changed wasn't all at once. It wasn't a waking nightmare. We learned each day that more was required of us and we met that challenge. However, with each challenge a bit of our zest was whittled away. No longer did we have the end of the workday to kick back and savor the sunset and delve deep into the nights. The days became months followed by years and finally decades. Time swallows itself—and us.
To see yesterday, we have to turn back. Over our shoulders, there isn't time, our work rarely waits. What happened to the roses?
It's up to us to find the roses. We may have roses all around us and not in our garden, but do we tend them? That mysterious scent is found atop the sleep-fuzzy heads of our children as we wake them on a busy school morning. It's also alive on a Saturday afternoon after the chores are done and before dinner bids as the birds, trees, and other sundry fauna call us outside to play ball or tag. It's in the wagging tail of a smiling dog and in the soft purr of a feline looking for a lap to nap in. It's the comfy wicker chair on the quiet, cool porch that pleas for our pleasure with a book. Yea, they are our roses though we are often lost in a muddle even when they shout to us.