November 9, 2011

If time could be recaptured, when the clocks fall back...

Good Morning column from Evansville Courier and Press
November 9, 2011

If time could be recaptured when clocks fall back

Returning to Central Standard Time last weekend, I lose the joy of October and accept the reality of November. November means darkness after 4 p.m., the chill of fall lessened by the furnace, but not cold enough for a fire in the fireplace. Yet we are given a “magic” extra hour. Most of us sleep it away, feeling more rested on that Sunday and for a few days until our biological clocks catch up to nature.

In an alternate universe, what would you do if magically given an extra hour of your choosing? Would you choose something new, or would you bring back an hour from your past, to savor, redo, or simply review?

There are many hours in the far-distant and recent past that I would love to recapture and enjoy
again — enjoying dinner at the Eiffel Tower with my love as the twinkling lights of Paris illuminated the evening, watching the sun rise in triumphant colors over a wooden cross at the Grand Canyon, witnessing our infant son’s three shocked blinks as the pastor made the Sign of the Cross and said “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” at his Holy Baptism.

These are moments that play over and over in my mind like unending reels on old, sepia-toned movies.

And there are the moments that I would do over, given the chance for another 60 minutes. I wouldn’t be as nasty to my mother as we prepared to pick up my wedding dress. My mother cannot be hurried, and I pushed her on that day
which should be a lovely memory. Now she is in a world of her own, where whatever memories she has are hidden under the reality of dementia.

High school, well, high school is a series of moments most people would redo. I probably wouldn’t have slipped and fell on a piece of chocolate cake in the gymnasium in front of the entire athletic banquet crowd.

As we age, we learn that time — not money — is the really desired commodity. Unlike money, we cannot hoard precious hours away in a bank or under a mattress. But we can lose time as just as economies can collapse.

The falling leaves and the transition back to standard time remind us to spend our time wisely.
Soak in the colors and richness of life. While the memories tucked away in snapshots and our minds are wonderful, nothing is as good as the real thing.

When I am anxious, I go to a “happy place” in my mind, an hour in time from a decade ago. I’m sitting in an Adirondack wooden chair on a Florida Panhandle beach. Our son is making sand castles at the water’s edge on this warm spring day, and my husband, clad in a baseball hat and beach clothes, reads a paperback next to me. My “happy place” brightens my dark November day.

What hours in your life do you savor?

Amy Abbott

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