“Why I am still getting these cross-country team emails from last year’s list?!” My annoyance is immediate, since, harrumph, we don’t have time for messages that don’t concern us. But then it melts away: just because my own son is no longer running at this school, has my devotion to the cause evaporated? Is my attention span so short that I can’t continue to be a fan? Am I so very clear on how best to keep shifting my attention as the seasons change and we all round another corner?
Put another way, sometimes I feel like I’m on a runway, all systems go in one direction; other times, I’m wondering whether I’ve packed well enough to include the best parts of myself, and whether I may have left a key responsibility stranded along the road.
Maybe it’s that I’m working on writing a memoir, but every day I get less sure that we’re actually all headed in a straight line towards the future, watching the past recede. Or maybe this phenomenon is attributable more to my own susceptibility to tugs from “back there.” A bit like Orpheus walking ahead of Eurydice, I sometimes want to turn around and make sure someone, or something, is still visible, padding along. I want to re-affirm the bond.
That glancing back didn’t turn out so well for those ancient, and timeless, characters. I’m hoping, however, that I can adopt a better strategy when it comes to mingling what’s current, what’s past and what still is clinging to me, for good reason.
Summer is finally relinquishing to fall, and the rains have brought many of the leaves down. It’s November, so we must be moving on. Perfect timing, because I’ve had my head on the whole business of what it actually means to move on — how you know what exactly to leave in the field, how you know what to gather up for later.
A field of pumpkins is lovely, especially if you can relax about not hauling every single one out of there.
Just the other day, the mail included three hefty publications from three different institutions where members of this family are no longer enrolled; OK, two of the three were in that category. I could spend days absorbing the flood of information that is available about places where our hearts were once beating.
Clearly, though, this would not be wise. Connectivity is good, up to a point, as is loyalty. But too much— well, then you’ll just start blowing fuses and the whole operation will fizzle, while you wonder whether it might be wiser to settle in for the evening with one good book, or one beloved person.
So I intend to smile when I see those cross-country emails, letting them remind me of good times gone by, when i too used to sign up for snacks, and also giving me a little nudge to find out how so-and-so is doing all these months later. But when my own college wants to provide me with details of every game undertaken by a current and highly capable team from a sport I used to play less capably, well then I’ll exit that field gracefully and get back to work, trying to set my sights on the future that will definitely be here before we know it– along with the ever-present past, of course.