Sir Time he has a daring plan,
to inaugurate Sir Fear in man.
Though Time thinks Fear is on his side,
Their purposes will soon collide.
Sir Fear it seems is rather cold,
He seeks revenge on Time I’m told.
Now, Time and Fear they war inside,
From both of them I try to hide.
But, remember Time he’s not so bad,
it’s only his temper that drives him mad.
So make a friend with Time you see,
and Fear the foe will finally flee.
It was during a brief moment at a stop light that I glimpsed the peculiar scene—a short-legged, brown-haired boy motoring with absurd gusto along a chain-linked fence. Just beforehand he had joined two other kindergarteners playing in a schoolyard before school. The two kids played with a stuffed animal fox, tossing it high into the air and catching it. The tossed it again and again until the worst struck. The fox arced of center and landed on the other side of the yard’s fence. It lay lonely in the freshly cut grass between the fence and a public bus stop. Immediately the short-legged, brown-haired boy jumped into his sprint. The other two crouched down, staring stunned and hopeless into the fox’s plastic eyes. I saw that the short one was headed for a break in the fence. He spun around the corner and proceeded to run along the road. The light turned green and I moved on in my travels, but I thought, man, that kid is going to get in big trouble when his teacher sees him out there. I suppose then, caring is dangerous. It leads us beyond the chain-linked fence of security and sometimes that means punishment instead of reward.
I find it easy to fall into a desire to know much at the expense of contemplating little. The world tells me to do more, read more, write more, talk more, take more jobs, earn more followers, attend more events; I suppose this is my way of rejecting the more-mentality and embracing the given.
Simple sentences. Neat, economical and generative. “The boy ran home.” It communicates clearly, yet generates a vast imaginative space. What kind of home? Why did he run? What kind of shoes did he wear? Did he even wear shoes? Why do I run? Is he also afraid of something or in love with something?
Like compulsive hoarders, we jam our space floor-to-ceiling with news, stories, information. I do not suggest that learning is bad, but sometimes it is unruly and even addicting. I’ve taken to this correspondence with you as a way of meditating on mundane, background moments—contemplating rather than consuming and enjoying the generative space that these moments create. I hope this space can be generative to you too.
I drove home from work—40 in a 35—slow enough to catch a glimpse of a sprite on the sidewalk. The stroller-fastened little girl was being wheeled forward my her mother opposite my sputtering Civic. The girl crinkled up her face and swung her arms, provoked by some bump in the sidewalk or light in her eyes or tightening of her seatbelt. What a life! I laughed as I passed. Isn’t it nice to be a kid? To be so present with your immediate surrounding and immediate emotions?
We grown humans seem to idealize childhood, christening it with the retrospect of divine innocence and simplicity. How easy it is for us to forget the actual terror of living a life so present-focused. The gift of age is also the gift of time. Now, we can recall the past and imagine the future, a kind of contextual balm for the present. To be solely present, perhaps, is not as perfect as it seems. But, to live perfectly present is to invite the past, regrets and all, and invite the future, fears and all, into a bright, awakened now.