For a while, after we retired, we remained tied to the weeks, months, and holidays. We knew when it was the weekend and aware of the holidays. I’m not sure when we began to slide into a world where the only reason to know what day it is, is because you have an appointment with the veterinarian or the doctor … or you are planning some kind of activity.
I know today is Friday because my computer tells me and I got a notice from my bank about which bills are getting paid and how much money is left. Otherwise, it really could be any day and I would have no idea. On weeks with holidays in them? I completely lose track of everything and am often convinced that it’s a day — or more — different than it is.
Remarkably, this has almost no effect on our lives at all. We have a calendar in the kitchen, but that just shows when the weeks and days are. To actually know what THIS day is — you need something electronic that says “Hey, lady, today is Friday and after this, it’s the weekend. Did anyone tell you that your team won the American League Pennant last night and the World Series starts Tuesday? No? Well, it does … ”
I have little pop-ups on my computer reminding me when to take out the trash and the recycling, and lists on the fridge telling us what we need to buy, should we bother to go to the grocery.
“Garry, are we out of anything yet?”
“Paper towels, but if we got gently, I think we can make it another day.”
It turns out that school and work are the things that give weeks a form, a shape. Not having either in your life?
I guess you’ll have to look at the computer calendar! Now there’s a major tragedy, eh?
by William Ernest Henley
William Ernest Henley, born August 23, 1849, was an influential British poet, perhaps best known for his poem “Invictus” (1875). He is the author of A Song of Speed (D. Nutt, 1903), Hawthorn & Lavender with Other Verses (D. Nutt, 1901), and For England’s Sake: Verses and Songs in Time of War (D. Nutt, 1900), among others. He died in Woking, England, on July 11, 1903.
If ever a poem spoke of meeting a challenge, this one does. I don’t actually believe I am the master of my fate. I don’t think any of us are, but there are times when hanging on to the thought helps you through otherwise hard times.
It could be the first light of the sun creeping over the horizon or the last rays of light as the sun sets below the horizon. It’s impossible to know. I always wondered if there was any way to tell the difference between dawn and dusk and the answer turned out to be “no” — not really.
I have seen sunrises so brilliant that they came through the window and the room in which I lay seemed to be on fire … and I’ve seen the setting of the burning orb over a bay that set the entire sky alight — 365 degrees of solar magnificence.
And yet, for all that, my favorite times are the soft rising and setting of the sun. The glimmering. A quiet rising and a gentle departure. Soft blues, golds, and pinks — the beginning and end of an ordinary day.
There has been so much craziness in our world. A peaceful start and close to the sun’s passage seems a good choice.
I am trying to find some peace in a world that seems at war with itself and certainly at war with me. I cannot fix it. The best I can do is find a bubble of quiet and hope greater powers than mine grab hold of the world and tenderly bring it back.
This continent on which I live — the northern end of the “new” world — was and still is magnificent. We have great mountains and prairies and lakes the size of small oceans. Giant rivers where the salmon have run for centuries and if we allow it, will continue for centuries more.
I’m not much on prayer. I have no idea where prayers go or if anything or anyone hears them … but for those spirits who might be listening, I offer a humble hope to hold fast to this beautiful planet.
May our better selves emerge to save us from our own savagery.