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Eightball & Thundercloud
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by Eightball & Thundercloud
It snowed last night. The first snow of autumn. It used to seem like
centuries between the last snow of spring and the first snow of autumn.
Now it seems like only a few days. I still like seeing the first
snowflakes fall, but it's not like it used to be. I remember being in
school and seeing the first flakes of snow in the autumn and feeling
trapped because I was not free to go outside and look up at the sky and
let the snowflakes fall on my face.
Now, it seems
that the snowflakes of spring and the snowflakes of autumn are but a few
moments apart. Is time really moving faster now than it used to - or is
it just me? Do children still experience time the way I used to when I
was a child? As a child, I would wait for centuries for the first snow
to come and when it did, I would rush to the window to watch - or better
yet run outside without a coat to let the snowflakes fall on me. Now it
hardly seems possible that I ever was a child. But I must have been.
I've grown up
too much I guess. My favorite walking path, once dappled with summer
sunlight and sheltered by a lush canopy of summer-green trees, now lies
beneath barren trees and strewn with bitter old leaves and scanty
patches of autumn's first snow. My favorite walking path, once bordered
by bright and happy wildflowers is now dreary, forlorn and abandoned -
save for my own footsteps shuffling slowly through the sadly dead
leaves. The "only other sound's the sweep of easy wind and downy flake".
I think of Robert Frost. A verse from "Stopping
By Woods on a Snowy Evening" fills my thoughts:
are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep."
with my thoughts and Frost's poetry my only companions, I begin to
realize it's Thanksgiving again. Wasn't it but a few weeks ago it was
Thanksgiving? And, now it's Thanksgiving again? And Christmas, my
favorite time of all, is only a few weeks away. I know it will seem like
only minutes to me with my "grown-up" sense of time. And, how many miles to
go before I sleep?
How unfair is
it, that when we are children, with decades stretching before us, time
passes so painfully slowly that days seem like weeks and weeks seem like
months - we seemed to always be waiting for something. Then, when we
are older, with much less time left in our lives, time is compressed and measured not by the passing of seasons, but by
events. Events like Thanksgiving, remind us how precious every moment
is. Time, once a river that flowed lazily through open pastures has now
become a river of crazy rapids moving
so swiftly through the gorges of life that we can hardly catch our
breath. Is this a joke nature plays on us? Or is it a much needed lesson we need
to learn? A lesson to prepare us for what lies ahead? It is said that
nature is very tough teacher because she gives the tests first and then
the lessons. I realize now how true that is.
I am beginning
to learn what nature has been trying to teach me all along - That every
moment is a blessing and time indeed waits for noone. George Eliot once
wrote: "The golden moments in the stream of life
rush past us, and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us,
and we only know them when they are gone." Such a profound thought. And,
so very true.
Thanksgiving, my step-mom was nearing the end of a long and difficult
illness. She was a woman who had always marched to a different drummer.
laughter, sincere, unique and genuine, still echoes in my mind even though she's been
gone now almost a year.
Sadly, I had not been close to my dad and step-mom for a
very long time. When my step-mom became ill, I began spending a lot of time with them, caring
for them, and I began to get to know them all over again for the very
Last Thanksgiving was
to be my step-mom's last and strangely she knew it too. As the end of
her life grew near, I spent a great deal of time with her. Though she
was terribly ill, here laughter never changed. Though she was very sick,
she still laughed that laughed when I said funny things to her. But most
importantly, we took time to really talk. And, we had some great conversations - better than any we
had before. Before she was sick, I was always "too busy" to take
the time to really
talk to her. I was too busy to take the time to really get to know her.
Then, one day,
she said something that really made me stop and think. She said that she
had seen a part
of me that she had never seen before. A compassionate, kind and gentle side. And I
was stunned when she said this. It was just two days before she died. I
was shocked, I guess, because I've always thought of
myself as a compassionate person. How terribly strange and sad that
it wasn't until her final two days on this earth that we finally got to know each other.
I realized how much I had missed - waiting until the last minute to get
to know this wonderful person. Indeed:
"The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us, and we see
nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them
when they are gone."
We never know
what tomorrow will bring and when the end of our journey will come. Holidays, like Thanksgiving, are opportunities for each of us to
stop and and remember that time is a gift; that our children, parents, families,
and friends wonderfully precious. We should be thankful every day, not
just once a year. But it's Thanksgiving again. Time to take time to
think about the truly wonderful blessings each of us can count.
also a time when we should stop and remember those who are not as
fortunate as we are - take time to remember those who are less fortunate
and reach out to them in your prayers.
It's Thanksgiving again. I hope each of you
will take time to really get to know those who are closest to
you. Take time to listen to them and remember how very precious they are
to you. Take time
for the important things in your life. Do not follow my example and wait
until it is nearly too late. Don't look and see "only sand" when an
angel comes to visit you. The river we all ride upon flows one
direction, and it flows faster and faster for each one of us. We are all
rushing through the narrow gorges of
life. And not one of us can change the river upon which we all ride.
Thanksgiving again. Make this Thanksgiving special by taking time for
the precious ones in your life. Your family, your friends, and you.
We wish each of you a truly precious and
blessed Thanksgiving. May the memories you make be with you forever.
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