Category: Time

Time Travel:  “He’s walking in my tracks…

…but he can’t fill my shoes” — Jerry Lee Lewis You’d think that, living in East Tennessee, I wouldn’t take country music for granted.  But driving home from Knoxville tonight I picked up the classic show from WDVX, and I could have been 20 years old again.  All these songs and voices so readily identifiable, the liking of which set me apart from my peers in high school…a precursor of sorts to the rest of my life, always being different.  In any case, listening to the young voices of Jerry Lee, Loretta, Merle and Buck, Conway Twitty and Marty Robbins, George Jones and Little Jimmy Dickens…I was wishing I was on a dance floor, something I haven’t thought about in a long, long time. When I was in late high school and early college, we used to play the bars at Matagorda Bay, down along Magnolia Beach and Indianola.  If I hadn’t been playing, I’d have been too young to get in.  And yet, it always fell to me to sing the country stuff…Fraulein, Cheatin’ Heart, Muddy Water, Pick Me Up on Your Way Down.   Low ceilings and low lights, a walking bass, cigarette smoke and juke boxes and alcohol and lonely people…damn!  It just don’t get no better than...

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Hubris…

Concluding a week in Rome, I stood yesterday at the top of the monument to Emmanuel Vittoria II, liberator and first king of the unified Italy that emerged in the 1860’s. Wikipedia records the monument (including the statues atop it) as 443 ft wide and 266 ft high, with an area of 20,332 square yards. The 360 degree Rome skyline includes the ruins of the Colosseum and Palatine Hill, remnants of colossal temples, dozens of standing domes and obelisks, and the astonishing wealth of the Vatican…itself an ironical tribute to a child born in a barn. The singular, recurring word in my head was “hubris.” All these pretensions to eternal power and esteem, sad reflection on how a small, insignificant and transient creature graced with a remarkable brain and opposable thumbs has chosen to express his gratitude for such gifts.   I came home and looked up Percy Bysshe Shelly’s poem to the Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II. Ramesses was an Egyptian king who, 3,500 years ago, had similar aspirations. Here is the final stanza: “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” –Percy Bysshe Shelley...

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Create the past you want

It’s an insightful way to consider the actions and decisions you take today.  We like to think we can direct our futures, and to an extent, that’s true.  But any guarantee is a myth. Thinking you can control the randomness of the future is an illusion. But there is one guarantee:  Each action you take does becomes an ineditable, unchangeable fact of your past.  You must identify with it for the rest of your days.  It becomes part of a moving picture you compile moment by moment, day by day, frame by frame. When you reach the point where more days lie behind you than lay ahead, what do you want as your legacy, your testament?  Now, while you can, build yourself a past that will give you pride and peace, and not sorry and regret....

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I’ve decided that time is indeed money…

…or very like it in one respect, anyway. It has to do with how we use the time we have, not the time we want. With money, there are two ways to be rich, by having more or by wanting less. Truly happy people are the latter, I think. They aren’t constantly striving for more, nor do they become slaves to debt. At sixty-four, I’ve become only too aware of time. I’m well past the good old days of youth and even middle age, when time felt a lot like credit. Like my credit rating, as long as my health was good, time was plentiful and mine to squander. Now, though, like someone crippled by debt, I see it never was like that. If I’m to be content, I have to decide very consciously what activities are important to me. Then, I have to focus and let others fall away. It’s like watching the little convertible pass me by as I climb into my truck…nice to have but out of my reach. My ADD self wants to travel, speak French and Italian, study history and philosophy and religion, meditate, learn the piano, build a house, write, be active in my community, host dinner parties, play in a band, read the classics, grow a garden, study photography, visit family, have a partner, work out, and still have time to sip...

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