Friday, December 06, 2013

It's Advent Not Christmas (Day Six): Of Time, like an ever-flowing stream

Uncle Benjamin said,“How time does fly!” “I think it crawls,” said Valancy passionately.  ~~ L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

I once wrote something for a writing class called "In the long afternoon."  It was from the perspective of a very young child...okay, me...trying to get through a long, boring, hot Sunday afternoon when all the adults wanted to do was nap.

When you're four, even one afternoon can feel like forever.  Christmas takes forever coming, the month or so of "Christmas stuff" lasts forever, and by the end of it, you almost can't remember a time without Christmas music, lights and trees. 

When you're, there's much more of a sense that this Advent time is very short.  It's hard to stop and not do for awhile, when you know that the mere fact of its being December 6th means that in three short weeks, it's going to be Boxing Day already.  The flyers with candy canes will already be yesterday's news.  In my childhood perspective, almost time for Happy the Baby New Year, and the December 31st sleepover at grandma's.  In 2013, I'm getting decorations out of boxes and realizing that they're going to be repacked within, well, days.

Like planning a a wedding.  Or waiting for a child.  The baby's here, but time runs away while you're watching her hold her head up, and start smiling at you, and roll over, and crawl, and you're into size 12-months before you know it.

Valancy may have thought time crawled, but for me it's disappeared too fast, and it's stolen much that I thought would never change.  In my mind, that long afternoon is not that long ago, and there's another one alongside it: I'm in my cold and tiny apartment, the winter before I met Mr. Fixit.  I was temporarily out of work, trying to fill in the days by listening to the CBC and crocheting Every Single Christmas Present.  That December was like one very long afternoon, and it's still clear in my mind after almost twenty-five years.  The time that stretches back is the long arm, and the time just ahead is what's rushing by like a storm that grabs things up, makes hay of those few short days when we can let it be Advent.

There's a reason they call new-baby time "babymoon."  Yes, you know they will grow up, but there is a time that belongs to now.  Just because it will be gone so soon doesn't lessen its meaning.

And there's a reason for Advent.  Yes, it's quickly gone, and seems more so every year.  Like the Baby New Year that grows old, the empty January calendar is turned to the last page before you know it.  I'm with Uncle Benjamin on that one.

But it has its time too.

Carpe diem.

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