In the Meantime,
Believe it or not, winter is half over. Well, it will be, come February 1. Folk traditions often mark the astronomical moments of the year. Solstices and equinoxes we all know but halfway between each is also a place many ancient cultures inserted rituals. Groundhog Day Day is a vestige of something older, hence “the six more weeks of winter.” It has been roughly six weeks since the solstice, right, and each season is 12-13 weeks. Halloween is another midway occasion.
The UU theologian James Luther Adams wrote an essay all seminarians know, “Taking Time Seriously.” But what is time? If you think about it, there are only four natural measures of time – years, seasons, months and days. Every other form – weeks and hours and minutes – are human contraptions.
As I get older, the human measures feel more and more constricting. It seems like ‘wasting time’ when I look at the clock, and see how ‘late’ it is and how little I have done. But when I see how the evening light catches the Superstition Mountains, or that a tuft of grass is slowly making its way through the gravel near my apartment, I feel lucky to have been there at the right ‘time.’
Yes, we need to take time seriously, but not as a measure of our lives. There is a saying that most people count the days of their lives, but a wise person makes every day one worth living. More often than we think, that means being present to life itself. I remember what Annie Dillard said (and included in the gray hymnbook) “We are to abet creation and to witness to it…. That it need not play to an empty house.” That’s what being present means, and we do it by paying more attention to the rhythms of the universe and less to the clock. – FW –