“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”
Henry David Thoreau
Today the Grackles reappeared I would say returned but some I am sure have been with us all summer. Typically we see small flocks in the spring and again in the fall, gleaming black metallic knights with their bronze and violet feathers, the sunlight reflected a different spectrum with every turn and pirouette. This year a family also appeared in midsummer with their squalling chicks reflecting every phase of the transition from callow youth to adult. I have seen the large winter flocks in Charleston but here they are more of a beautiful novelty and when I think of the house in Calgary they will have a strong seasonal association for me. I find that living in the city I often experience the seasons more through memory and art than through my day to day reality so the Grackle today are welcome guests.
The advent of fall here has started me thinking about the seasons. One trend that has saddened me lately is the calls for year round schools. As I am neither, parent or educator I see this not from a practical stance but through the rather romantic lens of childhood. As adults we live increasingly in a 24 7 world. Technology allows those of us who live in the cities of the developed world to even out the seasonal effects of climates on products, housing even the cycle of day and night. A winter vacation can be taken in the tropics a shift worker can start at midnight and go home to sleep with the dawn. It is a reality we live in but one I would like to spare children, so much of the school I remember revolved around the seasons, our art projects of cutting out pumpkins and Christmas trees, the gathering and preserving of fallen leaves for science projects, even the stories in our readers and the pageants we performed often had a seasonal theme.
It is hard to imagine that these seasonal pursuits with have the same resonance for children that live in the same world as their parents, where time off is the same two weeks squeezed in here and there for practically and convenience. The world we used to inhabit was a thing of grand sweeping gestures not a world anchored to the cheese paring of time.
“February and there are Valentines for everyone for once.
Easter eggs, paper tulips, it is spring and change is in the air.
And in the summer you ran thru an endless twilight
until the street lights called you home.”
from Days of Construction Paper and Macaroni
“Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying
Though I sang in my chains like the sea. “