The sentiment comes dressed up in many of our favorite cliches - the shift of dominance from elder to younger, the inevitable march of time. Most of the time, its just the days passing - or, in our house, the flipping of the hourglass.
But every now and then the moment sneaks up and bonks you on the head.
Earlier this week, after dropping Dylan off at his off-island school and running some errands, I found myself on the ferry back home later than is my norm. It had turned into a beautiful afternoon, sunny and golden, with puffy clouds on the horizon and seabirds swirling in azure skies. I had an enviable spot at the front of the dear, beloved ferryboat Rhododendron. This little vessel is from a by-gone era, with her brass fittings, teak benches, and lanes too narrow for modern day Navigators. She is much loved.
She also breaks down a lot.
But, we cherish her and awaited her imminent replacement with dread and loathing. That afternoon, I found out that Fate had given me a small but precious gift - a spot on the Rhodie's very last voyage across our waters. After learning this, I looked around. There were a fair few people there, a little teary, like me, having walked on board just for the chance to say a proper good-bye.
The 15 minutes went by too fast. We chatted and took lots of photos. I tried to capture some of her magic in images of fittings and details I knew the new boat wouldn't have. I wanted to remember that there was a time when boats like this were built, that they criss-crossed Puget Sound with grace and dignity. That their crews polished their railings every morning and toddlers ran along their teak benches into the arms of young parents and indulging grandparents. She was the last of her kind in our fleet and she would be missed.
And then it was over, and I was driving off the Rhododendron, watching her replacement slip quietly into the far-away dock for the next run. I drove home, choked up and grateful for the events of the day that had put me on that voyage.
But, being late, I was only home for a short while before it was time to turn around and head back to the boat - the new boat - and pick Dylan up from his school day.
And there it/he was. A bright, shiny, new, state-of-the-art ferry with my son and his pal front and center, waving wildly from the impossibly high passenger deck. The next generation, setting sail and ready for the next 20 years. By an accident of Fate, Dylan had stepped into the maiden voyage of our new vessel. I said good-bye and he said hello.
"Guess what, Mom?" he said when he stepped onto the dock, "I was Passenger Number SIX!"
I recently purchased the first Object d'Art I've shelled money out for in a long, long time. Nothing fancy, basically something that caught my eye that I could actually afford while killing a few minutes in Pottery Barn. (Wow - It's been quite a while since I've ventured into that store and a couple years since they finally gave up on sending me their beautiful catalogs - has it always been this precious or has my life just changed that much?)
Simple, elegant, and decidedly low-tech, it's a real, live, surprisingly accurate hourglass. I thought of the absence of clutter currently gracing my living room/kitchen divider, inbetween the holiday decorations being packed away and our regular doo-dads coming back. I liked that smooth, clear plane. I decided that, for the time being, the doo-dads could stay safe and warm in their tub up in the attic and this simple machine could take their place.
Funny thing is, it's quite a thing of beauty, both literally and metaphorically. My whole family is fairly obsessed with turning it. There's something quite different about marking the next hour with falling sand. Most obviously, it's visual - watching it is an act unlike staring at a clock. It's also beautiful, simple. But what's maybe most compelling is that each time the glass is turned, the sand falls in a way that is not quite like the time before. Or the time after. Every hour is unique. Special. Worth a look.
Every hour slips away like...sands in the hourglass.
December is all about light in the darkness, especially here on the 47th parallel where the month of December can feel like prison. Twinkle lights save the night, candle wicks begin flickering around 4PM. Everyone seeks ways to light up the long, soggy evenings.
And then January arrives like the light at the end of the holiday tunnel, promising ever-lengthening days and maybe even the possibility of spring in the not-too-distant future. I always welcome January, more than a little ready to pack the snowmen, nutcrackers, and Santas away for another 11 months.
And so here we are, Day 1 of the post-holiday season. January, 2012. Does it feel like a new beginning? Like renewal? I think so. We are beginning or have started quite a number of new adventures, our family, and 2012 feels like it holds real promise. Even as I sit here, at 7AM, in total darkness save for the twinkle of the Christmas Tree and the laptop screen, I know the light will be coming soon - sooner and sooner every day - and I'm ready. From Stop Sign Farm to you and yours - here's hoping 2012 brings hope, opportunity, and harmony.
I am a 50-year old community engagement manager, wife, mom and sort of farmer with a passion for sharing life and love through vibrant and delicious food. I work to slowly (very slowly) build a place where people come to know their food and take pleasure in its journey. I am fortunate to live in a beautiful island community outside Seattle, surrounded by nature and exceptional people, especially my loving and supportive Aussie husband, our amazing son, and a small band of fiercely dedicated friends. This site is dedicated to sharing what I learn as I stumble through everyday lessons on farming, animals, growing healthy food, parenting, and what the future holds.