Life, like time and tide, waits for no one

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 11/1/19

There’s a chill in the air.

Fall is here. The calendar says so but the weather confirms it.

Sure, there are still some warm, even muggy days. It’s been said, and often, by natives and …

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Life, like time and tide, waits for no one

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Posted

There’s a chill in the air.

Fall is here. The calendar says so but the weather confirms it.

Sure, there are still some warm, even muggy days. It’s been said, and often, by natives and transplants alike that if you don’t like the weather in North Carolina just wait five minutes; it’ll probably change.

I had an up-close personal reminder of that early one morning this week. My better half was off being grandmother and I was on our front porch in my rocking chair office, cup of coffee in hand. A modest breeze was coming from the east and, when coupled with the quiet of the morning, it made things pleasantly cool.

And good.

All of that was nice, those external sensations — the breeze, the quiet, a stout Java. But there was more.

As I have always been prone to do — and apparently am becoming more so — my mind began to wander. Sometimes it goes off on long trips, moving from one thought to another until I can’t get back to where I started the journey. Other times, it takes those lengthy excursions and I can return to the starting line. And the latter are more preferred than the former. And then there are those short trips somewhere down a lane of someone or some place at some time.

As I was exploring all those roads of the mind, a thought came — life is like that. We start off in spring, as little folks like new buds on flowers or the newly-born lambs. We find, as Bill Cosby often said before his fall, that we indeed “started out as a child, at birth very close to my mother.”

Then comes summer and it lasts a long time, from youth to young adulthood, until mid-life sometimes. We grow, strive, sometimes prosper in all sorts of ways, just like the trees of the forest or crops in the field. We reach upward toward the sky, confident we’ll always be like this. That’s one reason when tragedy intrudes into that world of youth we are so shocked.

Sitting in that rocker, alternately drinking and smelling the coffee, I thought of some of the folks of those two seasons in my life...my long-gone grandparents whom I barely remember, my folks whom I remember well and miss ...aunts and uncles and cousins...my brothers when we all wore a younger man’s clothes, even young people clothes ...my better half, thankfully, my own children and grands...some long ago girlfriends, wondering how their lives turned out, some high school buddies, including one who left us when tragedy entered our summer world...some college friends I was sure I’d never lose sight of and then a couple of times seeing their names in the obituary section of the paper.

There were folks of different careers — long ago at The Chatham News, at the Asheboro Courier-Tribune when I thought I wanted to be a reporter on a daily, of a corporate communication career with an outfit that doesn’t even exist anymore (not my fault)...of folks I encountered during a journey into vocational ministry...pastors and professors at seminary, all good, some better than others, Dr. Horne, Dr. Dale, Dr. Durham...folks in churches I served, a dear friend as close as a brother who crossed the Great Divide in his sleep one night when he was way too young...and on and on I — and you in your life — could go.

Somewhere in the midst of all that, it occurred to me that the seasons of the year and the seasons of our lives can — and do — often easily transition from one to another. After all, it wasn’t so long ago, the weather was hot and dry as summer was in full swing. Then came rain, cooler days and nights, and autumn. So with our lives. I realized, for me, summer was over and it was fall. Part of that is because I’ve had a few birthdays. Part is because my shoulders are shot and it’s hard to hold my arms upward for very long. Part of it is the realization I’ve had a few visits with the surgeon for various necessities and while things went well, he did not turn back the clock to spring...or even early summer.

The key, I think, to all this awareness of the seasons of time and life is to, first of all, know where we are. As much as I’m able, I want to stretch out fall as long as possible. That’s why for the weather forecast, there’s wood under the shelter, some of it in wife-size pieces, and for the body there’s Ben-Gay for aching joints.

Then, secondly, make the best of the season you’re in. I enjoyed remembering all those people, places and things while in the rocking chair the other day but the reality is, I can’t change a thing or live there. That’s not to say I won’t visit again, maybe soon when it’s cool and the coffee pot is on, but the key will be not only to remember but to learn.

My hope for you is that you have similar places to visit, good folks to remember and life lessons learned. If so, enjoy and pass along those lessons. If not, take a look at your calendar and see where you are. It’s likely not too late to start.

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