Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Scribblings: Stopping Time

This prompt really got under my skin. I've been pondering it since early Saturday morning, considering what I would do if I could freeze time. After lots of thought, I simply have to admit that I wouldn't stop time, even if I could.

The opportunity to think this through comes after a week of no sleep, too much to do, and not enough time to do it. At some point while mentally bemoaning all I needed and wanted to do, it struck me how tremendously lucky I am to live such an interesting and varied life. In response to all that calls me, I bounce out of bed each morning, eager to take on the day's challenges and wrap myself in its comforts. I find myself wordlessly pleased by a soothing cup of tea mid-morning, charmed by life on the pond, and generally content despite the low-level chaos that surrounds me.

When I consider my relationship to time in contrast to many people—some of whom I know personally—for whom time hangs heavily each day, my main feeling is one of immense gratitude. The hours and days DO move too swiftly, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Although time doesn't stop, my personal hard drive holds hundreds of freeze frame memories that I take out and look at from time to time, like treasures from a box. Here are a couple of them.

• My son's appearance at Grand March before prom in his junior year of high school. Prom was on our birthday that year, and seeing him participate in such a normal rite of passge was one of the greatest gifts I ever received. From my seat in the bleachers, surrounded by parents for whom this was an important but not unexpected event, I watched The Boy escort his lovely date, Emily, to the flower covered arch in the center of the school gym. They paused for photos, then turned and walked away as all the other couples had done. But after all The Boy had been through, this was a most unexpected and treasured turn of events, and I sobbed silently as I tried not to miss a moment of his glory. I can still see the royal blue curtain fluttering softly behind the arch, the lights reflecting off the bald head and glasses of the teacher annoucing the couples, the red carpet leading to the white arch, the glint of sequins from Emily's fairy-tale gown, the dull glow from The Boy's perfectly polished shoes. Most of all, I see the light of pride in his eyes as he smiled for the cameras. That light never dims, never dies, and never will as long as I live to remember it.

• A lunch The Girl and I shared one spring day when she was 16 or so. We sat on the patio of a local eatery, soaking up the sun and warmth as sun-starved Minnesotans tend to do come spring. We were talking about the possibility of contacting her birth mother, who has always made it clear that she welcomes and hopes for such a thing. In response to my question, The Girl said, "Not yet. I don't think I'm ready yet, not mature enough yet. But someday I'll be ready and when I am, you'll help me."

When I think of this moment, I can call back the smell of hamburgers on the grill mixed with the fragrance of lilacs and car exhaust. I can feel the weak spring sunshine and the slight warmth provided by the navy-blue cotton napkin on my lap. I can see The Girl's blonde curls falling over her shoulders and the fuzzy green turtleneck she wore. I also see the maturity and wisdom and trust reflected in her green/gray eyes. I was so proud that my daughter knew herself well enough to say "Not yet," and knew me well enough to know I would do whatever was best for her, whenever she wanted.

• A night The Wasbund and I spent at a friend's cabin, many years ago. We gathered around a fire in the yard and a couple of the guys played guitars and sang. As we sat under the stars, listening to the soft lap of the lake on the shore 20 feet away, we were warmed by the fire and by the glow of true friendship and comraderie. The good fortune of being part of that charmed circle never ceases to amaze me, and I can still feel the dew gathering in the cool of the evening, can still hear the crackle of the fire, the distant whine of mosquitos and chirp of crickets. If I concentrate, I can still see friends' faces in the flickering light and hear their voices as they sang or hummed along. Magic.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved sharing your "freeze frame" reflections. We all have those special moments in which time seems to stop, at least in our hearts. These were all beautiful :)

Suzy said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous writing. These memories are so beautifully written and captured. These are the words memoirs are made of.

Remiman said...

Jerri,
It's that frequent recall of memories past that keep them alive in our mind. Theyare our connection with the past and our guide to the future.
Thanks for stopping by and commenting so kindly.
rel

~NanCourt~ said...

I was transported back in time with you....
So lovely, so special!

Tammy said...

You wrote these moments so beautifully I could see them. I wish I had some of that wonderful gift!

Anonymous said...

Your writing is beautiful it always makes me feel like I want to know more:) I wrote for this week Sunday Scribbling. I posted but am a little nervous to report it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog - I have enjoyed repaying the visit.
This is a great piece of writing with some lovely detail. I could picture and feel it all - especially love the description of the napkin warm on your knees. It's those surprising details that grab the reader's attention and makes them glad to be participating ... (and I include myself in that category!)

Jenny Rough said...

"Freeze frame moments" - I like that. I was just thinking the other day I can't believe it's going to be 2007 in a few months. Jan 1, 2000 was a freeze frame moment for me. Thanks for sharing some of yours.

Amber said...

I love how you have such clear memory of these beautiful times in your life. And that you shared them with us. It made me smile to read it.
Like this :)

:)

tinker said...

These sound like such sweet times, Jerri, these moments captured in forever in your memory. Thank you for sharing some of their beauty with us. I felt I could almost hear those crickets and feel the campfire! Simply lovely.

yak attack said...

Your beautiful moments are so well written. Thank you so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

YOu have captured these snapshots in time perfectly. You've also given me some perspective. I love your attitude about time and gratitude. Thanks for stopping by my blog with such encouraging and supportive words!

Skyelarke said...

That was beautiful. Your freeze framed memories are beautiful ~ it makes me want to reflect on what mine are. Thank you for sharing.

Bug said...

Lovely moments! And it is a nice invitation to think of my own as well. (And I love your pics of the veggies below. So bright and joyous!)

Repeater said...

You brought me there with you. I have tears in my eyes and I'm at work, trying to hide them. Thanks for visiting me.

Ziji Wangmo said...

Beautiful -you got me thinking....

ceanandjen said...

It becomes so easy to become tired and discouraged when there is so much to do and not enough time. Thank you for reminding us of how lucky we are, and putting it in perspective. Beautiful.

Michelle O'Neil said...

Loved this. You frame these pictures beautifully.

Kay said...

What lovely memories. Thanks for sharing them.

Terry Whitaker said...

The Boy, The Girl and The Wasbund are a lucky bunch!