Time on My Wrist and on My Mind

I have a new watch. For more than 35 years my watch, an old-fashioned, small-faced watch with leather strap, a long ago anniversary present, accompanied everyday life and big events. I wore it during our second son’s birth, through multiple graduations of both sons, and at the firstborn’s wedding. So I was sad when after a few weeks of attempted repair, the local jeweler (who sent it away to an expert) declared it “kaput.”

Our holiday Anchorage trip had unexpected events I enjoyed – best was a late afternoon movie matinee with our older son – complete with tea and popcorn. Another was when my good-natured husband did his Christmas shopping (my watch). The amiable shopping together, walking familiar cold and windy downtown streets, was a gift itself.

This watch needn’t last as long as the old one. That statement makes not wasting any time imperative – and it goes quickly. At 40 Virginia Woolf wrote in a letter to Carrington: “At my age, life I may say melts in the hand…I sit down, just arrange my thoughts, peep out of the window, turn over a page, and it’s bed time!” (I always wish VW had lived to negotiate and narrate her next decades.)

Time spent on “Her spirits rose…” keeps me from risking being haunted by a Mary Oliver quote the young writer sent: “The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power or time.”

Robert Grudin writes so eloquently about time, and to enrich time he encourages always trying “to make the present memorable.” He speaks of a “feasible kind of chronological magic – making present time slow its pace. For one must love life indeed, in all its miscellaneous fullness, in order to hanker that its smallnesses, its very dimples and indentations, be lengthened for one’s pleasure. To wish such a thing is, in effect, to begin to do it, and to do it is to enlarge life immeasurably.”

My new watch can keep good time while I try to slow it down.

3 thoughts on “Time on My Wrist and on My Mind

  1. On my mind, too. On my wrist and old Timex running watch. I use it for all sorts of reasons, timing activities in a classroom, walking my dog, and just how long it takes me to do things sometimes. And, of course, for running, total time elapsed, and if I know the distances, pace.
    Two quotes:
    From T.S. Eliot:
    “Quick now, here, now, always⎯
    a condition of complete simplicity
    (Costing not less than everything)
    And all shall be well
    All manner of things shall be well
    When the tongues of flame are in-folded
    Into the crowned knot of fire
    And the fire and the rose are one.
    —T.S.Eliot, Little Gidding, (No. 4 of Four Quartets)

    and David Byrne of The Talking Heads:
    “Time isn’t holding us, time isn’t after us
    same as it ever was, same as it ever was…”
    —David Byrne and The Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

    Loved this little essay; right on time!

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