Time in a Bottle


Today we seemed to hopscotch direct to summer. When I left the house this morning, the forsythia in my backyard was showing green, but on this day when temperatures climbed amazingly (and non-humidly) into the 80’s, the yellow burst forth in all its glory.

Spring Storm and Bloom 2007 006

It felt wonderful to be warm, to feel a breeze that did not chill.

We took a leisurely stroll up and down our block with Molly and Sam after their supper. Molly found a fascinating piece of lilac sidewalk chalk. Sam took an interest in provoking Molly to wrestle. I looked forward to actual summer, when homework will not rule the evening and a walk will not seem hard to schedule.

There was no drawing with chalk for my children today. The Princess set the metronome and practiced her piano. Snowman attempted the glissando that opens Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. I opened more windows, fretted over formatting documents and how to arrange a sermon series.

How is it there were more hours for chalk and hopscotch and bike riding and doll-playing when  I was a little girl? Were the days just slower? Did time move differently, more graciously or more stubbornly? Certainly it did not leap from 1 to 10 without touching the squares in between.

On the way to a school play rehearsal, we felt ourselves caught in time, or no time, as traffic halted to allow a train to make its way through town. At every intersection it had passed, we felt its effect. I sat at these same traffic lights taking the boys to nursery school–how long ago?–so long ago. That time seems far away, but my own rides to school, in cars and on this bus or that one, seem strangely near at hand in the warm spring air of evening, as I skip back across my memories to the time when I could hop on one foot so easily.

11 thoughts on “Hopscotch”

  1. Hopscotch, time machine, tesseract? However you describe it, time sometimes seems to fold in on itself. One of my most acute experiences of the time warp was having you sit on the sofa in my living room as if 25 years had not passed!
    As usual, your post is very apt. I am attending my organization’s national staff conference, and I spent the day with many twenty-somethings. They are metamorphosing from students to professionals, and in their faces, I can see both the children they once were and the middle-aged men and women they will become. Of course, I can look in the mirror and see the same thing.

  2. As a society, I think we’re a lot busier now than we were 30 years ago, but ironically we seem to get less done. We’re trying to change some of that experience for our daughter by homeschooling, so maybe that will help.

  3. You are totally right. There was just time! And it was wonderful.
    I love it when you post short movies about Molly and Sam!

  4. Y to all of this, and the comments…The thing that alarms me most is that even my children seem to feel that time whooshes past,and has done since they moved up to secondary school.But looking at the ways that they spend their time, it’s hard to see what could or should be jettisoned in the interests of lazy days.

  5. Things did seem less complicated then. I remember the hopscotch well, though we only had white and yellow chalk.

  6. Confession: I celebrate when the green leaves start to overtake the yellow flowers because that means allergy season is almost over.
    I had this post in mind when I bought The Boy some sidewalk chalk earlier today.

  7. There was more free time back in the days of yore because we were not so sorely inundated with minutiae formerly handled elsewhere, in concert with no longer having a supportive net of community trust and help that we once took for granted. It is an insidious process that has brought us to having to end our day before we actually begin it.

  8. I so understand what you are saying- and wonder how with all our labour saving gadgets we have so much less time! 🙁

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