Honoring and Recognizing the Passage of Time
by Linda Anderson Krech
Gregg and I played hooky the other day, in honor of our 31st wedding anniversary. We set out early and took a literal trip down memory lane, stopping at favorite haunts, as well as discovering a few new places along the way. We could have left our watches home because we were free from the tyranny of the clock for this entire day! Our only agenda was to wander, explore and follow our whims, which we did very well!
We launched our trip from the Haymaker Bun Company in Middlebury, a cafe where we sometimes go to get a change of scenery, while working on ToDo projects. On this particular day I had my first coconut brioche bliss bun, a treat that was so delicious that it had to be savored very very slowly and will be fondly remembered for a long time. What an auspicious beginning to our day. Before leaving the café Gregg donated copies of his books for a mental health fundraiser they are conducting. We headed south from there.
We rode around the area where we first lived in Vermont, after moving here in 1992. We stopped at a furniture store where we had once bought a sofa, and I had a delightful conversation with the owner. While chatting, I found out how I might reach someone that I’d lost contact with, who was important to me. It was an unexpected blessing. Amazing.
Peeking in the windows of the Ripton Community House where we got married, triggered memories of our ceremony, which included Naikan reflection and the serving of tea. Retracing our steps at the Robert Frost Trail, where we took everyone after the wedding ceremony, provided an opportunity to read his poetry aloud (his poems are mounted along the way).
We ascended the mountain road that crosses the Appalachian Trail and turned north on Rt. 100, one of the most scenic highways in Vermont. In Waitsfield we discovered a bookstore with 10,000 books (new and used), 5,000 DVD’s to rent, watch batteries, puzzles, cards, trains, and home-made bread on Saturdays. The owner had to leave a few minutes after we arrived, on a mission to bring loaves of his home-made bread to the food pantry before they closed, and Gregg said he would keep an eye on the store for him (though we’d only known him for two minutes). We look forward to returning another time to explore the overstuffed shelves and enjoy the community spirit of this store. (All income from the used books goes to the food pantry.) And he gave us a beautiful loaf of bread before we left. Gregg promised him a homemade scone next time we visit.
We ended our trip in Montpelier, our state’s capital, and decided to have dinner at an Italian restaurant we’ve never visited before. Dinner was delicious. We toasted to our 31 years of marriage and, then, to a wonderful new adventure over the next ten years (if we’re granted that time.) While during the day we were either engaged in the present or reminded of the past, now we found ourselves contemplating the future. What about the next ten years? What would define them? What was still important for us to do? We exchanged ideas and discovered our predictable differences, and our shared excitements. Should we write a book together? Work in a refugee camp? Take a self-guided bike trip in Croatia? We’ll see.
This day of local exploring was a luxurious splurge for us. We are fortunate to have had the time to honor and recognize our anniversary milestone, and to consider together the passage of time by looking back and also looking forward. Sometimes, clearing space in your current life, to imagine your future life, can have a big payoff. Does a particular idea trigger some sparks of interest? Is there something important trying to get your attention – something you need to do before you die? What would make the time ahead of you more meaningful?
In one of Robert Frost’s famous poems he comes to a place where the path separates into two. He chooses the “path less travelled.” But in the course of our lives, there’s not necessarily a point in time where two alternate paths magically appear before us. At any given moment we can begin to forge a new path, if that’s what we’re clear we want to do. Gregg and I did that 31 years ago. What’s next? We get in the car, drive for an hour, and get back home, right where we started — but with renewed gratitude for the past and new possibilities for the future.