catching up

by bam

the coffee kept coming. the chocolate pumpkins, finally, were peeled of their shiny aluminum shells. picked at, nibbled till tummies cried ouch.
the breakfast was over, the morning was slow. was going nowhere but right where it was.
it was that most sacred of hours, the time so elusive these days. it was catch-up, pure and simple.
and i’d not seen it coming. wasn’t scheduled, or penned on the calendar. it simply unfolded. and, given the weekdays that bump by in a blur–i’ll be late, pick me up, i have a rehearsal, i need to go early, can you drive me–it felt more than essential. it felt like a beacon of unfiltered light.
it was light, i am certain, that both of us need. it’s how we are wired. it’s a light that opens the heart, sifts through to places that need light to breathe.
with a boy who, by the hour, slips toward a life all his own, with a boy being pulled in so many directions, this catching-up time is the one patch of still water in seas that could rock us apart. i cling to the life rope, i cling to the time that carries us over the waves and the winds and the storms that might brew.
questions are asked, questions that can’t be cobbled on the fly, out the door, with one eye on the pencil solving quadratic equations.
questions that, one after another, sink deeper, mine places that only come out of the shadows there in that unfiltered light.
thoughts come too. new thoughts. dots connected. we are, neither of us, racing to come to conclusions. we are thinking together. and together, sometimes, we stumble on truths, on visions, on notions that would have escaped us had we not been digging together.
it is the difference between a dash through the woods and a meander. you get to the other side, either way, but you might miss the mushrooms there by the trunk of the tree. and you might not catch the glint of the gold as the sun pours through the now-amber leaves.
in some houses i think–and some times of the year, even at ours–the weekends are more of the blur. blur upon blur. no wonder we’re gasping for air.
but i fight back. i pull every trick in the book to keep spaces of time unchained, unclaimed, unbooked. i have no agenda for those hours. don’t know, even, how they’ll be used. but if they’re not there in the first place, there’s no chance for catching-up time. breathing time. no time for connecting the dots of a week, and a world, that desperately need interpretation.
since the invention of time, really, since genesis, since in the beginning, there’s been a knowing that time requires two speeds: the time for creation, the mondays through fridays, do-your-job, make-the-land-and-the-seas, don’t-be-late, carve-the-beasts-of-the-jungle, the-birds-of-the-air, turn-out-the-light, set-the-alarm; and the time for just being, the blessing of sanctified time, sabbath defined.
so what are we doing, so many of us, so much of the time, thinking we can trump all the slow time? take a short cut, a by-pass, speed things up, ignore the moments when nothing much happens.
but really those are the moments when we sink, surely we do, into the core of the matter, when we go into the parts where the being is done. past the mere interstice, the blank spots and hollows, into the organs of thinking and feeling. where sense–and soul–dwell.
i found myself all weekend feeling blessed for the power of catching-up time. that whole notion of daylight savings time, of setting the clocks this way or that. it’s really, all of it, just a reminder that time is a gift.
we can take it and savor it. hold it up to the light. we can sit with the ones who we love, pick apart chocolate pumpkins, decipher the world as we see it, mine deep into each other’s heart.
or we can pant right through all of the hours. check our digital watches. hit the gas. find ourselves at the end of the day, and the week–even our lives, if we don’t watch it–hardly knowing where all the time went.
that’s not the way i want my days to end. not the way i choose to watch time pass me by.

where and how do you find catching-up time? do you shove aside all sorts of obligations and requests and demands? do you say, sorry i’m busy, even when you’re not? just so you can savor the gift of time by yourself, or time with those who need nothing more sacred than to breathe the same air in the very same room? to chew the same thoughts?
today is, by the way, a most sacred day. it is the birthday of the girl i so love. she’s bright light defined. no wonder her name is sweet claire. she is 17. and she is the girl i sometimes pretend is more than a friend, more like the daughter i never did get to hold in my arms. happy blessed day, bright light in so many lives.