How to Slow Time

Dame's Rocket
Dame’s Rocket

Spring is:

  • Dame’s rockets. Aka: Wild phlox, Mother of the Evening, Summer lilac. I thrill to the sight of great swaths of them. In a meadow. Running up the side of a hill.
  • Carrying armloads of lilacs into the house.
  • The return of all flowers. Daffodils, hyacinth, tulips. 
  • The return of warmth.
  • Coffee on the deck in the morning.
  • Fledgling birds, their beaks open, yellow throats flashing for food.
  • Sandals or no shoes
  • Dirt and trowels and plants
  • The smell of fresh-mown grass
  • The Egg Chair’s re-appearance on the porch
  • The fountain, too.

I want to freeze time. Right here. 

The other night we were talking with Fred, and I said, ”Yeah, today is June first, 

Tomorrow is the fourth of July, 

And the day after that is Labor Day. 

Summer is basically over.”

Fred and G were horrified.

But all I was saying was that Spring and Summer fly for me.

I need to figure out a way to slow it down.

Not time, me.

I need to slow down ME.

I have FOMO when it comes to this time of year. Fear of Missing Out.

I fear that moment when the spring flowers (like the Dame’s rockets) start giving way to the summer flowers and I realize I haven’t really enjoyed/appreciated/savored the spring flowers enough.

I think: What happened to spring! Ahh! I missed it! 

And I did. Because I didn’t make time to fully enjoy it. I did other things instead. Good things, perhaps, but not enough slow noticing. 

 If I want to prolong the pleasure of spring I need to pay attention to it, give myself enough space and time to soak it in, and absorb it completely.

So completely that I am ready to relinquish it to the next season because I’ve drunk it to its dregs. 

No more feeling of desperation as I watch it fade because I’ve had enough. I’ve had my fill.

What I need to do is sit in the woods, or walk for long stretches, alone. No dogs.

I need to stop, look, smell. Maybe take a photo, a clip, write some notes, then amble on again. 

I need to do this for hours, and for many days. I need to adjust my life so there’s time for this ambling, this doing nothing.

Put it on the calendar. Give it top priority status. 

In The Summer Day” Mary Oliver spends the whole day just watching grasshoppers, basically. 

Brazenly, she asks the reader:

“Tell me, what else should I have done?” 


(Nothing, Mare. You go.)

For me, I could cure my FOMO by doing the same thing: 

Watching the Dame’s rockets sparkle in the spring sun, smell them, photograph them, study them.

Then there wouldn’t be that pang of desperation when they, with their season, fade.

If I just gave it my full attention, I’d notice how spring takes its full measure of time, then gradually passes the baton on to Summer. 

There would be no sadness because I was there for it. I didn’t miss anything. I watched it, felt it, smelled it.

Tomorrow would go back to being just tomorrow, and not the 4th of July. And the next day would be whatever I was present to hear, taste, smell, see, and not Labor Day.

If I want pleasure to last I need to slow down and give it a chance to envelop me. 

I need to be still and slow to appreciate flowers, the taste of coffee, the fresh tilth through my fingers, the chunk of trowel on clay.  

I vow to do this.


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