Sunday, November 2, 2014

Embracing time

My mother likes to be awakened by the sun streaming through her window. Not me; I prefer my morning runs to be finished long before I even think about squinting. But this morning, that changed -- for me at least -- with the backward turn of our clocks.

From this Sunday through spring, unless I start running at  5 a.m. (which is doubtful, though I like the idea of it) I'm going to need to carry sunglasses along with water, raisins and an old driver's license for ID.

It's an annual event, this borrowing an hour of sunlight from dusk and presenting to dawn -- with a bit of a flourish -- these precious 3,600 seconds. The deeper we go into the cave of year's approaching end, though, the less light the days offer anyway. But for now, the morning gift is fresh and new; the evening dearth of light, a bit perplexing. We have to remind ourselves why the sky is dark when we leave work, and to psyche ourselves up to face it head on.

We can think of this tossed-around hour as an extra one, which NPR's Scott Simon (who keeps me company on my Saturday morning runs) said in this essay. An hour in which, he told us, we can at least dream of reading "a book we made the time to buy, but have never been able to find the time to read..."

Or this which made me take a quick and deep breath: "to have another hour to talk with our parents again, or pat a family pet we loved."

Time, and this isn't exactly profound, is weird. It's iffy and fickle and makes no guarantees. It seems at times limitless; at others, way too finite. Yet those are among the reasons we cling to it, and bargain with it; battle it and coddle it. Say what we will about it, we want to very much for it to be our friend. Because of everything that time is, above all it is precious.

So on this, the first official day without Daylight Saving Time, what can we do but honor, not just the hour that most of us probably slept through, but minutes and moments that make up our lives. Of course we'll fall short. Huge chunks will pass in a heartbeat; minutes will drag by.

And then forgiving resilient souls that we are (or try desperately to be), we'll stand up straight  and dust ourselves off. We'll put on our sunglasses and, vowing to be ever aware and ever appreciative, we'll open the curtains to let the morning light stream in.

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