THE BLINK OF AN EYE
I do not profess to know what my people thought or felt, living in these mountains two hundred years ago, but I have to believe that like me, they had to have some sense of the marvel of time. I would like to believe that like me, they were so busy living that they did not waste much thought on where time had gone—concentrating instead on the moment in which they found themselves. For me at least, it was as if one day I looked down, surprised, and wondered where these old-man’s hands came from; time only moves in one direction and bemoaning its passage is just another way of saying “I should have done more”.
I know it sounds silly but when I look in the mirror today I still wonder who that old man is, because on the inside I am still young. Partly I have the mountains and river to thank for that, because their changes, even though they certainly have occurred, have been so slow. Instead of wasting my time on things I cannot control I have tried to focus on those things I can—and because of that attitude I am still in love with my life.
This week Cecelia and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. We took time to look back over the old photo albums and to remind ourselves of the journey we have taken together, to revisit both the good times and bad, and to try to set a course for the new day tomorrow will bring. We decided, all those years ago, to do this thing together—to pick up our responsibility and bear it together—and the more we carried, the stronger we became. Perfect? Not by a long shot. But being perfect was never part of the plan. Most important in that exploration of life has been to remember to celebrate each other’s individuality and difference of opinion—and to try to make giving more important than getting. Cecelia has been my miracle and my proof that miracles are real.
If you were to look around the Hampton home today you would find the artifacts of life we have deemed important, artifacts that remind us of our ups and downs—the things we have kept to show us where we have been so we can plot the next steps. In Appalachia we are surrounded by the history of our people and we today have to find the bedrock artifacts of that history, both the good and the bad, those folks left behind that can guide us into the future. Our time here is short, we must make the best of it—after all, forty-one years is just the blink of an eye.