Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time’s Wingèd Chariot


“But at my back I always hear 
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near."
— Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"

The art of “decking the halls” takes some creative maneuvering when you’re a full-time working mom. Each day the littlest bit gets done; garland on the mantles one night, pomanders on another. The tree will stay bare for a few more days until the weekend saunters by again, and the ever-growing list of things to do unravels like Christmas ribbon to the floor.

It’s not an easy life, being away from your home for so long and squeezing in as much as you can for the short time that you are. Once I close the door behind me at the end of each day, I’m mommy again, and every second under my roof with my daughter counts. Since she was born, the essence of time has become so much more profound. The simplest routines have become of utmost importance to me; greeting Catherine in the morning, getting her dressed, rocking her to sleep before putting her to bed. To me, these moments are to be savored like a fine wine, deeply and with the understanding that it will all slip down so fast.

This newfound sense of awareness has also lead me to appreciate the world around me as though I was experiencing it for the first time. I’ll often find myself at the edge of my bed in the middle of the night, gazing out my window at the moonlight shrouded over the yard, or taking in the deepest breath of air as I leave my office. I am always looking up at the sky, but don’t all things, for that matter? The tree, reaching with its bony branches, the bird, searching for the best direction home.

The nights come earlier this season and last longer. I drive home in the darkness, following familiar roads lit hazily by streetlights and passing cars. I do this all monotonously and without thought, as if my hands upon the steering wheel were of another body, the pedals pushed by some mystical force. I pull into my driveway, step outside, and suddenly I’m back again. I look up at the jet-black sky freckled with stars and breathe in the dampness of the night. Turning towards the house, I glance into the large bay window glowing warmly with light and see Catherine smiling in her highchair.

I open the front door and walk quickly inside.

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