Was that the All Star game the other night on TV already? Has the mid-summer’s classic screeched by in an instant? Is August just around the corner? How can this be? Wasn’t the first day of Summer just a couple minutes ago? Didn’t I tuck away my shovel in the corner of the garage just last week? How can this be? What is happening to the time? Where’d it go?
I can plainly recollect when I was a younger lad, the summers used to seem to last forever. They used to feel like a year and a half, and then some. As I sat in the cafeteria of Little Falls Elementary School in Gorham on the last day of school, a feeling used to take charge of me. It was one of those feelings that every so often I get to taste a sliver of in my dusty billy goat days of the here and now. It was a true feeling of complete comfort, knowing that another incredible summer full of amazing childhood memories was smack dab in front of me. I breathed it in deep, I reached out and grabbed hold of it, I wrapped my arms around it, and I smiled, for it was my summer, and it seemed as though I could almost do with it as I pleased. Such a wonderfully uplifting feeling to have a span of three months to run and play and swim and bike and climb and just about a zillion other things that flooded my boyish youth.
Time sure did act a lot differently back then. It didn’t matter as much exactly what time it was, nor did it matter much what I just did, or what I was about to do next. The thing that mattered the most was what I was doing right there and then, and whatever it was, consumed me completely from head to toe. All of those things that I quite often think about now, you know, the grown up stuff, well, that particular stuff really never entered my mind back then, for after all, I was a kid, and I was living a kid’s life. The worries and hassles and muddled up messes that coincide with adult-ville didn’t matter a lick to me. How could they? I had too much kid stuff going on between my ears to pay mind to all that grown up crap, and besides, it felt so far away. I truly felt that my life as a kid would go on forever, after all, the summer’s felt like they lasted, well, forever.
Probably the only time I really noticed, or worried, or fretted about time was when I was in anticipation mode. If there was a ball game, a trip to Pine Point, a summer rec bus ride to Long Beach, or Sebago Lake State Park, whatever the daily kid schedule was, I would count down the seconds, until, the time came to perform my kid tasks, and then, once again, time didn’t matter. It was like, ready, set, be a kid! No time restraints, no hourly pace, no minute by minute approach to any of it, just a smile, my summer, and me.
I notice now that when I am constantly clock watching, time takes on a whole different perspective. I wish I could get back all of the time when I have been just sitting and waiting for something to happen. My perpetual anxious ways, in cooperation with my other aggravatingly anxious ways seem to strap me down and force the minutes to slowly drag by, right in front of my face, while I sit, and wait. This probably wouldn’t happen so much if I wasn’t bothered so by being late, and yes, there’s that time thing again, taking charge, taking control of the moment, having its way with little old me.
I admit I don’t clock watch as much as I used to. Not being able to see the hands spin round has set me into a slightly different mind set. I do need to know what time it is from time to time, but the frequent glances to the mighty spinning hands don’t bring me the info,, so I am forced to either perform an “insert – f12, or do a, “Hello Moshey!”, or press down on the button on top of the talking clock, or perform the over used tradition of, “Excuse me? Can you tell me what time it is please?”. Either way, time gathering for me is a completely different part of my day now. The time is still there. I know, because I can hear its persistent tick, tick, ticking, but it picks me up and maneuvers me through the day with a totally different precision than before.
Either way, it moves by at a much faster clip than it used to, and most days, I am wondering where it is running off to. I ironically wonder how it is that I, myself, have gone from a fast moving cricket to a slow grazing goat, while this thing called time has gone from a snail’s pace full of a kid’s life, to a rocket propelled, gray haired jack rabbit, racing towards tomorrow with a fury the likes of which I never could have imagined.
Oh, take me back to those days of old, those glorious days of old. Take me back to the mind full of carefree and casual comfort, wrapped in the wonderment of time. Take me back and drop me off into my childhood, if you please. That warm, cooling glow of summer that used to move up through my body would feel right at home with the hectic, hand turning world that spins around under me.
I’d take a 35 cent Dar’s Dairy Bar double header cone over a four dollar and fifty cent blizzard any day of the week. I’d take a jump off the wall into the damn reservoir at North Gorham, along with being able to step up to the plate in front of Little Falls School on a hot summer’s day, or riding my bike across Daigle’s potato fields, down to the river swing, or walking through the field of dandelions, heading to the Project to catch some horned pout, that is, until it would start to rain and the turtles would come out and scare the fish away.
Even though all of these wonderful things were wrapped up in time, I was not. Even though the hands spinning ’round the clock dictated where the sun was, I seemed to dodge the restraints of it all. Even though the hours on the wall continued to chug along, my world seemed to stop, even though but for a moment, for I was too busy to pay attention to it all, after all, I was a kid.
July hasn’t left us yet, but I can hear the sounds of a late Summer’s August just around the corner. The garden is jumping to attention, and the horse flies are out. The bluish purple dragon flies will soon be swarming on the north side of the house in the late evening breeze.
I think I’ll keep the snow shovel tucked away in the corner for a few more ticks on the clock, after all, this is still Summer, right?