LONGLEAF STORIES

full circle in the hundred acre wood

Rife with possibility. Redolent with memory. Tinged with regret. Years ago, working in an office downtown, lunch hour was pure freedom. Time to window shop, people watch in the park. Or meet a lover, returning flushed and breathless.

Older now, time is my own, but spending it has taken on mortal significance. As children, a summer day was a lifetime; summer itself eternity. Recognition of life’s brevity makes the hours “go faster.”

Living part-time in the North Carolina mountains, part-time in Florida, my gardens are often untended. Arriving in the flat-lands yesterday, the parched plants were a blunt reminder of time’s power. Gone barely four weeks, it was painful to see them ravaged by drought. The purple pansies and crimson Dianthus so recently lush with blooms are spindly, nearly strangled by weeds. The roses have behaved like an abandoned lover, taking no nourishment and failing to thrive.

Lunch hour. Out to lunch. Those short blocks of time when you leave or simply look away: when your favorite coffee cup unaccountably falls, shattering; when friends drift away unnoticed, like carelessly tied canoes, silently sliding away.

Our challenge is to edit our life choices, but not too carefully, and to remain fully awake in each moment to precious possibility.

Speak. Leave a memory.

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