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Caretakers of the Present

“Even when we get what we wish, it is not ours.” – Publius Syrus

We’re all in a relationship with time. Some relationships are abusive, some are blissful. Time teases us. We think we have so much of it, but that’s a fabric of our imagination, like the belief that we might just live forever. The days fly by in rapid succession, and we do with them what we can.

Over the last week I’ve wrestled with a yard relentlessly assaulted by the surrounding trees, raining pollen and catkins and samaras into and on to everything I’d worked to clean up until the rains came and turned the tide in my favor. The chores of home ownership are relentless and a fool’s game. Yet it offers the meditative work required for me to sort out the rest of this crazy world. For all my complaints, I recognize this plot of land I’ve squatted on is borrowed from the universe, and I appreciate what it’s brought to me.

And some day I’ll return it to that universe to do with it whatever it must. Will this land return to the oaks, pines and maples that regularly reach back for what was stolen from them, or will the house will be torn down and the pool filled in to make way for a McMansion as the region continues to face the pressure of urban sprawl. Who knows? I’m the caretaker of the present, such that it is, and recognize the folly in it all.

What we receive is not really ours. What we have is on loan in the present, be it stuff or relationships or a plot of land with a modest garden. It’s ours to work with as best we can today. If we think of ourselves as caretakers instead of consumers, we might just leave something for those who come after us. That’s not exactly a new way of thinking, but maybe forgotten in the assault of consumerism and consumption and pursuit of “ownership”.

We might wish for more time, but like stuff we accumulate, it’s not really ours. Once you accept that time is on loan to us, it liberates you. Simply dance with these days and forget the math. We have what we have, and the rest is not our concern. Take care of the present. While there’s still time.

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