A Freely Given Canvas

photo by Nate Gibson
photo by Nate Gibson

“Last forever!” Who hasn’t prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying.
~Annie Dillard from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

For too much of my life I have focused on the future, bypassing the present.  There is always a goal to achieve,  a conclusion becoming commencement of the next phase, a sunset turning right around in a few hours to become sunrise.

There are precious times when the present is so overwhelming, so riveting, so tenderly full of life, I must grab hold with all my strength to try and secret it away and keep it forever.   But it still slips away from me, elusive and evasive, torn to bits by the unrelenting movement of time.

Even if I was able to take a photo to lock it to a page or screen, it is not enough.  No matter how I choose to preserve the canvas of the present, it is passed, ebbing away never to return.   I can only wonder at the present by focusing less on the foreshortening future.

So I write to harvest those times to make them last a little bit longer.  Maybe not forever; they will be lost downstream into the ether of unread words.

Even if unread, I am learning that words, which had the power in the beginning to create life, can bring tenderness and meaning back to my life.   How blessed to live the gift twice: not just in the moment itself but in writing words that preserve and treasure it all up.

 

3 thoughts on “A Freely Given Canvas

  1. “….torn to bits by the unrelenting movement of time…..”

    Unrelenting? Well…. not always.

    I married Norma. Although Norma’s dad, Jerry Naimy, taught history at a little high school in rural Spokane, he was a brilliant writer of couplets. How brilliant? try this:

    “How steely strong an instant be
    To spread apart eternity”

    There! See?

    Ern

    Like

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