Thursday, August 23, 2007

Borrowed Time

“When I was younger
Full of ideas and broken dreams
When I was younger
Everything simple but not so clear.

“Living on borrowed time
Without a thought for tomorrow…

“Now I am older
The more that I see the less I know for sure
Now I am older
The future is brighter and now is the hour.”
- John Lennon, Borrowed Time

I like August, and the way you feel like now is the hour to spend outdoors in the evening. My garden is clearly living on borrowed time, and its days are numbered. While I have flowers, like this bleeding heart vine that received enough irrigation to bloom this year, they’re mostly tired and worn out from a long hot dry summer that shows no sign of abating soon. On these unusually humid early autumn nights, the moon shadow illuminates the garden with the chilly pale white light of approaching winter.

I’m trying to decode the seasonal mysteries. There’s not even the most self-defeating or seemingly contradictory sign to mark seasonal change. Like this unwise street sign in my neighborhood, some things are better hidden then others. At what exact moment does summer leak out and autumn creep in? It must be at night.

It’s as if the seasons are holding their breath for one last long summer night in my garden. What a imaginative folly, the concept of borrowing time. Are we taking a sort of time traveler’s holiday – borrowing hours to spend long late summer twilights today, against shorter colder nights to come?

As autumn begins, ancient Wiccans used to celebrate Lammas night when the sun enters his old age, but is not yet dead. On the eve of August, people would marry for one year and a day, as a way of acknowledging the impermanence of all seasons of our lives.

I prefer another interpretation of the phrase “borrowed time.” Instead of borrowing daylight in August from cold winter nights ahead, I am actually hoarding the present to spend in the future. Now is the hour to savor the summer’s bountiful harvest. The conceit of living on borrowed time is a reminder to take care now to enjoy the present without a thought for tomorrow.

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