I have completed a short visit with Craig and Donna, who are hosting one of their daughter’s kids, two year old Micah. It’s early, but Micah and I have already taken Lola for a walk along the nature trail that runs through the town, enjoyed a breakfast consisting of an egg, toast, and fresh fruit, and now settled in for a couple episodes of Llama Llama. It’s not yet 8:30 a.m. It’s nice to be young and have all the time in the world!
It’s January and the start of another year. I awaken early to find that it is still dark. In the early morning, the darkness feels as if it might never lift. I know this day gradually will brighten like all the others. I remain still and quiet in my bed but feeling impatient for the morning light to arrive and let me know that I can begin my day
It’s February and fading daylight is now visible well past 5:00 p.m. The fading light reminds me there are longer days ahead. I can hardly wait for them to arrive.
I look ahead to March. The afternoon skies remain bright, even as the outside air is frigid. Through a window I stare at the snow blanketing the backyard of the apartment building where I live with my sister and my folks, and wonder if it will ever melt. I feel impatient and can hardly wait. When March arrives, I will abandon my parka, boots, and gloves for the freedom of shirtsleeves. The first day air temperatures hover around fifty, I will! Then, into early April I routinely test the limits of early Spring. I’m anxious to feel the warmth I know is slowly coming.
I see early signs of greenery that won’t explode here until May arrives. May means the end of my school year is almost in sight. I can hardly wait for the start of Summer vacation. Time continues to creep along.
The Summer is languorous, of course. By late Summer another endless school year will be upon me. The pattern will be repeated. Will it never end?
It’s the start of a new year, and I am beginning to prepare in earnest for this season’s excursion to Tucson. Lola and I haven’t set a firm departure date, but we aim to arrive there by January 20, so we’ll need to be on the road mid-month. My mind is revving up to tackle numerous and myriad trip-related tasks. I thought I left myself sufficient time but already I’m starting to fret: Where has the time gone?
Importantly, our vehicle has to be ship-shape. I had my mechanic make sure that it is seaworthy a couple of months ago, but before we shove off, I’ll change the oil and check all fluids and tire pressure. I will top things off with a thorough exterior/interior swabbing. Despite the nautical allusions, the fact is that where Lola and I are headed, it’s mainly a dusty, dry trail, roughly seventeen hundred miles in length. Everything needs to be readied in advance, and I already can hear the clock ticking.
To drive comfortably across the country, I will assemble an all-weather wardrobe. I will assemble a varied Southwestern wardrobe that is sufficient to meet the changeable winter weather conditions Lola and I are bound to encounter over the course of single day in the desert. Gotta make sure to pack sweatpants, sweatshirts, lightweight exercise clothes and take along hiking and racquet equipment. Can’t forget a few dressy items for stepping out with Robyn when she visits us in February. (In fact, I have promised to transport a few of her items to Tucson.)
I reserve a portion my basement as the staging area. Currently it’s empty save for an unopened bottle of Tito’s, a tiny (but powerful and sophisticated) guitar amp, and the brand new, mini-CPAP device I purchased late last year with earmarked FSA funds. As I look around, I fret. Where has the time gone?
I know from past experience that by the time everything is ready to be loaded into the Subaru, the staging area will be overrun with large suitcases containing clothes and toiletries, garment bags with hanging clothes, a large box of shoes and boots, sundries, food and water in large plastic containers with tight covers, one of my guitars, a Bose radio, numerous CDs, and God-only-knows. Lola the Wonder Dog will have a stash of valuable goods, too. Lola travels like royalty.
It’s not just the material necessities. While in Tucson I will still teach on Tuesdays, publish on Thursdays, practice music on most other days, tasks involving different plans and preparations. I have additional commitments and ongoing projects begun here, which I remain solely responsible to see through regardless of my actual physical location. I find myself fretting, do I have the time to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished?
And there are relatives, friends, even a few business associates, I should see before we depart. Time is run short and I realize that I won’t be able to see everyone, but instead must pick and choose.
Where has all the time suddenly gone?