Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - Aug. 1, 2008

In the blink of an eye

Husband Art told me he had one of those "out of the mouths of babes" experiences last week when he was driving home. The four of us had been at Mom's for supper with Uncle Stan, Aunt Kay, Nadja - our exchange student from three years ago, her boyfriend Tim, sister Gaila and her girls, and my brother Dave and his wife Linda. It was our last get-together before Gaila and her younger daughter Larisa headed back to Bolivia for the year.

With the evening over, I had expected Nadja, Tim and younger daughter Katie to ride home with me in the van. But Katie chose to go with Art because she gets impatient with my slower driving.

Apparently Katie had one of those periods when she just needed to talk. Art said the first thing from her mouth was, "Sometimes it just scares me how fast the summer goes."

When Art told me about the conversation later, I thought, "You and me both!"

Then she told Art that sometime she'd like to have just one summer where she did nothing at all.

I could relate to that.

But then she told Art she'd probably get bored.

Boredom? Sometimes I think I could use a bit of that, too.

Art said he told her he understood, but sometimes in life there are two or more options that all seem attractive, but there's not enough time to pursue them all.

Katie agreed with him and said she wouldn't have wanted to miss the trip with the Gold Orchestra to Colorado or the one to Ireland or seeing her cousins.

I thought maybe it was the quantity of activities crammed into the summer that made the time appear to pass so rapidly, but on later reflection, I'm not so sure. My days on the farm as a young girl seemed to go on forever and we certainly kept plenty busy with chores, 4-H projects, visits from cousins and other activities. Still, June, July and August seemed to last and last.

Another theory on the apparent acceleration of the passage of time is that it is all about age - the older we get, the faster it seems to go.

Art says almost every week when he talks with his 98-year-old mother she remarks how time seems to just fly by. She occupies her time with reading the newspaper, doing crosswords and watching television - not exactly a busy schedule - yet she always tells Art she wouldn't mind time slowing down a little.

Art's older brother Tommy feels the same and his life is far from jam-packed with activities. A big day for him is a trip to the library.

If age is a factor in this feeling, why would 15-year-old Katie be lamenting over the swift passage of summer?

But while I, too, wish that time would slow down, there are advantages to the way things are. Last Monday when I awoke, the sadness that comes inevitably each year when Gaila's departure approaches struck me.

I turned to Art and said, "I'm sad about Gaila leaving."

"I don't know why," he replied. "It seems like it was just a couple of days ago when she left last time and here she is back already. Just blink your eyes and she'll be here again."

Of course, the only problem with that is that I'll be a year older and I'll still wonder where the time went!

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