The Rush of Time

I have never felt the rush of time as I do this autumn. Last winter, time seemed to freeze — it just sat there, segueing from one dark cold day to another, week after week after week. In summer, time seemed torpid from the heat, slogging from one meltingly hot day to another for months on end. In spring, the high, almost constant winds made time feel as if it were whirling in place.

But this autumn? Each day feels significantly colder, darker, and shorter than the previous one, as if time isn’t so much marching on, but is running flat out. Even though winter doesn’t show up on the calendar for another two months or so, it feels as if autumn can hardly wait to get rid of the heavy responsibility of being the intermediary between two harsh seasons, and is hurrying to shrug off the burden. I can’t imagine how I will feel in ten days when daylight savings time ends — perhaps as if in its haste, autumn fell off the cliff into darkness. Afterward, I’m sure, autumn will pick itself up and limp slowly toward winter, but until then? Time will continue to rush along, pulling me with it, and sooner or later, winter will come.

I have a hunch one of the reasons time seems to be moving so fast is that I am not ready for winter. I have done most of what I can to get my garden ready for winter, though without any moisture falling from the intermittent clouds, I’ll be out there shivering as I water the lawn occasionally. There are also a few patches of garden still to clear out as well as a plant or two to bury (well, bury the roots) so they can survive the coming freeze, but otherwise, I’m pretty much ready. What I am not ready for are the months of cold and darkness, though I’m sure I’ll get used to them as I always do. During those months, I console myself that at least it’s not the sweltering summer. (In the summer, I deal with the heat by telling myself that at least it’s not the frigid winter.)

Another reason, of course, that autumn seems to pass so quickly is that summer heat encroaches on the beginning of the season, and winter chill encroaches on the end, so it feels like a short season, with a few weeks of temperate weather squeezed between months of extremes. It does show me, though, how important it is to appreciate each day for what it is, and especially to appreciate the longer evenings that we still have before daylight savings ends and early night crashes down on us.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Oh, My! The Pressure!

Oh, the pressure!

It’s not just that today is Halloween, because no one comes to the door anyway. The next street over is where the activity is.

It’s not just that I had three big trees to plant, because I had help planting them.

It’s not just that this is the last Saturday before the election that might change our lives forever, because at this point, there’s nothing I can do about it.

It’s not just that daylight savings is ending with all the problems the time change brings because, well . . . there’s nothing I can do about that either. I could of course not change the clocks as I did (didn’t do?) one year when I was young and just deal with the wrong clocks, but since some clocks change themselves nowadays while others don’t, dealing with two different times is more confusion than I need.

It’s not just that today is another warm day in a string of warm days after the big freeze — that’s not where the pressure comes in; it’s that I had to drag out my hoses again as if we were heading toward spring rather than winter.

And oh, yeah, speaking of winter — it’s not just that winter is around the corner.

It’s that tomorrow begins a new month and I have to pick a tarot deck to use for the month. (I pick one card every day to see what it can tell me, though usually what it tells me is that it has nothing to do me with.)

Oh, my! The pressure! It’s not the same for normal people who have but one deck (or not decks at all). I have dozens of them! I suppose I could continue using the deck I’ve been using, though that one doesn’t really speak to me. Actually, none of the decks I’ve used so far seem to strike a chord, so I’ll have to keep trying out the various decks. I figure a month gives each deck a good tryout, and so here I am, back at the beginning of all this roundaboutation with me needing to pick a new tarot deck for November. I guess I’ll just close my eyes and grab one. And voila! That lessens the pressure.

(Out of curiosity, I looked up roundaboutation because MSWord says it’s not a word, and to be honest, I thought I was making it up, but it is actually a word that has been in use since the 1800s. Who knew?)

I hope your day is a lot less pressurized than mine. I’d say Happy Halloween, but I don’t know if saying that is acceptable any more or if it’s been changed to something more specific for those who subscribe to identity politics or something less specific for those who are too sensitive to deal with other people’s business. I sure as heck don’t need that kind of pressure, so I’ll just say, “Have a Happy ___” and let you fill in the blank.


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What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?

Timely Musings

When I woke this morning, the ambient light seemed much brighter than I would have expected for the early hour. I experienced a moment of disorientation, then it occurred to me that last night might have been the end of daylight savings time. I say “might have been” because ever since I have begun using my self-updating phone for all time-checking needs — wristwatch and bedside alarm clock — I have put all reminders of clock-changing out of my mind.

clockFor just a few minutes, this morning, I felt as if the world had changed while I’d slept. If I were out by myself somewhere, with no way to check unchanged clocks, and with no hint of the change, I’d have no idea what if anything had transpired during the night, and wouldn’t have known what gave me that feeling of unease. I’ve woken with that same sense of disorientation at other times, though, for no reason I could fathom. Perhaps we gain and lose time on a regular basis, but since our clocks are synced to the change, we never know.

When I was young, I took an informal poll. Whenever the days seemed to pass quickly, I’d ask people how the time seemed to them, and invariably, the day seemed to pass quickly for them too. Same with days that moved interminably slowly. Since not everyone experiences the same flow of life at the same time — concentrating on a task, which makes the time seem to go fast, or focusing on an upcoming event, which makes time seem to go slowly — I figured there was a possibility that time did in fact have a natural flux. Seconds might vary ever so slightly, making the minutes a tad longer or shorter, and by the time those variations added up in the hours, we would feel the difference. As long as our clocks followed the ticking of the seconds, no matter how long or short, we’d never know time moved at its own whim.

Adding to this strange but timely musing are the findings of quantum researchers, that measuring creates the actuality. Maybe our time measurement instruments (including heart beats and pulses) actually create time. (Maybe that’s why a watched clock never seems to move? Or should it be the other way, that a watched clock makes time move faster?)

The even odder thing to consider is that despite the dubious gift of an extra hour today, there are still but 24 hours in a day. That didn’t change. Only our instruments changed.

One year, I so hated the idea of daylight savings time that I refused to reset my clock. I automatically adjusted the time in my mind, so it wasn’t a problem, though it was for other people. I remember my panic-stricken brother running out of my apartment when he saw the time, thinking he was late to pick up his fiancé from work, and the almost sheepish phone call a few minutes later when he asked if I knew my kitchen clock was off. I’d forgotten by then of course, so used was I to making the mental adjustment. I never did that again — leave the clocks unchanged.

And now I no longer have a choice. My clock makes the change itself.

As, perhaps, clocks have always done.


(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)