The buttercups are back.They weren't in bloom last week, but within a day, because of the warm weather, yellow clumps appeared in glorious profusion. Seeing them was reassuring, but I was also startled at how quickly they came "to life" as did the Lady Slippers in the woods--which also blossomed.No where is the passage of time more evident than at our family's cottage in Maine. This will be my 67th year in greeting the buttercups and Lady Slippers, their sight this year, while welcome, also started me thinking about how fast "time flies." I got a clutch in my throat when I thought about holding a buttercup under my children's chin playing a silly game which is if you see a yellow reflection, the person likes butter. Wasn't it just yesterday that I held that buttercup under a toddler's chin, breaking into giggles. My reverie continued when the refrain from Fiddler on the Roof came into my head "is this the little child I carried, is this the little boy at play?"
I have a double dose of living those words, adding my grandchildren to the refrain. , All three grandchildren are "little boys." All three have this cottage deeply imbedded in their memories--their ages range from 15-5, and all three have seen the buttercups blossom here. My mind continues to wander as to how quickly each year hurtles to the next. How fast a small child can become a doting and loving parent, nurturing her and his own family. How did my fifteen-year old grandson suddenly become six inches taller than I am, or my eleven-year old grandson start to write his own book, or my soon -to-be six year old grandson earn a medal in a "kids marathon?"
I try not to ask myself "where does the time go?" I try not to become melancholy, or wish I could put some experiences in slow motion--just to be able to savor the moment a little longer. Poetry and song lyrics have always affected me, and I remember a song by the late Jim Croce "If I could save time in a bottle." But I don't want to do that, because I know I would then miss the next delectable feast of family conversations around the dinner table or the cherished reading of bedtime stories.
Time must fly; we cannot harness it. We can, however, keep our memories by having our minds "wink them into permanence." That poetic phrase was written in poem which my college English Professor wrote to me as a graduation gift, June 4th, 1967. She taught me to write, and now I realize she taught me much about appreciating life.
Instead of wanting to grab hold of a memory in the making a little bit longer, I will "wink it into permanence," and eagerly await the gift of making another.