It is mid-March and the snow continues. Slowly and gently flakes have made their passage from the sky over a period of several days. Now the ground is covered by a coat of white nearly half a foot thick. So much has fallen that schools are cancelled and my car needs a good scraping before I can go anywhere.
So it is with time. It’s passage is nearly unnoticeable and I then look up to see piles of memories and a rich history blanketing my life. I find myself desperate to step back and meaningfully examine what has happened before I can no longer taste the memories.
The days in Togo were never marked by intense moments for me (a different story for Bryant). Our routines were very set — which of course happens when doesn’t have a car or the complications of an Western lifestyle. Pre-school was a football field away from our house. The hospital was about the same distance in the opposite direction. Days were filled with visits from neighbor kids and Togolese friends, extensive food preparation, and vey long, hot walks on the roads to the surrounding jungle. If I can be so blunt, some days were downright boring and left me hungering for a more intense occupation.
As I tucked my boys in last night I was transported to their spartan bedroom in Africa. Its white plaster walls peppered with colorful art I printed and brought from home and it’s windows dressed with patchwork fabric we found in market. One memory opened the door to many others, though none of them were so acute as a memory formed on a specific vacation or big, planned occasion. They were the sweet lingering recollections of how it felt to move around the house in a rainstorm. The stride we took on our many walks on our dusty road. The slow pace we took searching for bugs and lizards as we made our way to and from “events”. The mess in the kitchen as we peeled and processed mangoes and other sticky fruits for snacks and smoothies. The raucous that surrounded any trip to the marketplace, and the feeling of clutching my boys tightly as I waded through crowds and stalls to find a pair of flip flops, a piece of fabric, an unblemished pile of tomatoes.
I sit in the stillness of the morning, grateful that I managed to heed my alarm clock’s reminder and capture some rare time alone to think. I know I have to embrace the season, the passage of time, just like I have to accept the fact that snow will fall well beyond February here in this high country. I expect there will be no mangoes to peel or lizards to catch today as in Togo. There will be more places to be/go/do/see/buy. What remains is the same heart warring against the urging to run ahead of time to do the bigger, better, and likely busy-er things.
I end with a letter to myself:
Stop your running. Settle into this moment as you would a comfy chair with a mug of tea. Enjoy this page a while. Memorize its words. It will never come again.