I forgot to bring the iPod with. The sun might set behind a cloudy front that is moving in. But I still see orange to the west, and it undeniably feels like summer today. It's the solstice, and once again, I'm back on the hillside at Donner Park, reflecting on the year that just passed.
And oh my, did it fly by.
A year ago, I was coming off a big transition with work, the death of my friend Tom, and trying to make sense of the new direction I was headed in. But the year went fast. So fast. Too fast. As a writer, I try avoid using the word "very" because it's a useless modifier, but here it's applying: very fast.
This past year has been the craziest blur of my life. Not crazy bad, not even just crazy busy or unique. Just instantaneous -- more so than I can ever remember. Senior year of high school? Didn't go this fast. The first year out of college? Not this fast. The last couple years in Madison? Nope. The year after Michael was born. Not quite. 2011-2012, the time I generally am going to look back to when I think about the boys' childhoods. No.
The sun is dipping below the clouds; I'm going to get a good sunset after all. There have been 364 sunsets since the last one, and they all went by in the aforementioned blur. I don't know why it went so fast. I wasn't looking forward to anything ending or beginning. It just flew by.
Maybe it's the perception that as the boys get older, each day becomes more important because they are more finite. I just want it to slow down a little. I don't want them growing up so fast. I don't want to be on this hillside a year from now and wonder where the previous year went. I want to be here and think, "That took a long time -- good!"
But life doesn't work that way. Parenting sure doesn't work that way. As I queue up "Sister Golden Hair" on my phone and watch the sun creep toward Antelope Island, I remember that this song is 42 years old. And for my parents, that summer when I was 4 and Julie turned 3, I'm sure they don't think it was that long ago.
I don't think it's a matter of not appreciating every day, but rather getting caught up in whatever's next. Whatever now is what matters. Next will just follow as it always does. Now slows things down; next just has you looking to the subsequent next.
This is my 12th trip to this hillside to write on the solstice. The journey continues. Hurray for that journey. Boo that it's seemingly speeding up. At least this sunset will never change.