Time passes. This is an obvious statement, and yet fundamental to the terrifying and promising nature of time. All time passes. Good, bad. Any time you can think of in the future will eventually be here.
September always carries with it a sense of this time passing. It is a time of new starts as the seasons change, and so I tend to remember past new starts that are now long gone. Nineteen years ago today I was a few months into my post-college internship at USA Today. We watched the Pentagon burn out the window. In that moment, it was hard to imagine what the future would be like. And here we are, nineteen years into that future, with all the ups and downs that have ensued.
Thinking of these decades gone is unnerving. The days are sands through an hourglass. Nineteen more years from now, I will be in my 60s, which is a mind-boggling thought. I shudder at how many hours I have wished away. The hours wish themselves away. They don’t need my help.
But this constant forward march has its benefits too. All time passes. When I’m up with a fussy baby in the night, I know it will eventually be morning. This morning during my follow-up root canal (yep) I knew that soon enough those drills would be out of my mouth.
As time passes, new things can come to be. The winter of 2013-2014 was uncommonly cold here in Pennsylvania, with several days lingering below zero. We have two crepe myrtle trees in the backyard — trees that are marginal for this zone in any case, and definitely not equipped to handle arctic blasts. One died, mostly, down to the stump, where a few tiny shoots came up that summer. My husband decided he could handle this tree chopping job himself, and he did, mostly, except for the chain saw accident right at the end that sent him to the ER for 11 stitches (the doctor said it was the least bad chain saw injury she’d seen).
The little crepe myrtle grew, bit by bit, alongside its bigger sibling. For years, it really looked small. But this summer — which stretches into September for these blooms — it is tall enough that I can see the pink blossoms from the back porch and the kitchen and living room. It is a beautiful reminder, every morning, that time does pass. Trees grow. Lives change. Children arrive. They grow. While the hourglass sands slip past, they aren’t nothing, and the future sands won’t be nothing either. Time always contains possibility.