Tick tock

My husband and I visited an elderly friend recently, and it was wonderful to catch up with him after a year apart. As we chatted we touched on the effects of the pandemic on travel, and our collective delayed vacations. He’s had to cancel – twice – a much-anticipated trip to Italy with a friend, and it looks like next spring is their best bet. How great that you’ll still be able to have this adventure, we said. To which he replied, “Two years lost means a lot more to us with much less time on our side.”

Time waits for no-one

Time is the most valuable thing man can spend

Lost time is never found again

Proverb, Theophrastus, Benjamin Franklin

I’ve been looking back at these 18+ pandemic months as if into an abyss. Those first 6 months, for me as for many, were an endless series of Groundhog Days, weekends and workdays melding together in an unending succession of anxious hours. Time seemed to grind to a standstill. Even recently, as the world has been lurching unevenly towards a fragile normalcy, time still seems suspended, as if neither here nor there.

Ironically it’s also true that I’ve felt, acutely, the passage of time, and of time lost. I realized this weekend as my nephew turned nine that the last birthday party I’d attended was back in the fall of 2019. He’s nine now, all gangly limbs and jack-o’-lantern smiles, both sweet and cunning, the transition from little kid to boy realized in the lost months of Covid.

While my conducting schedule has been filling up (my spring looks to be pretty epic), it occurred to me that part of why I’m so booked up is that so many upcoming concerts were meant to have taken place months and months (or a year, or more) ago. January of 2022 will see me performing in Cologne, a show originally slated for May of 2020. Even simply thinking about this concert, and the work I did for it before the lockdowns, slingshots me into some warp of the space-time continuum as the past morphs into the future. Time feels fluid.

Back in the before-Covid-times when I was locked in the seemingly unending cycle of travel, work, and a few exhausted days at home, time was all about not being late for a flight, about putting in the requisite hours to learn new music, about counting down the minutes on a hotel treadmill. It was something to be gotten through. It felt endless.

And suddenly somehow it’s not. I, like so many others over these many months, have had the wherewithal (and the hours!) to reflect on my cavalier attitude towards time, and how it’s so precious and finite. So this afternoon, I closed the score I’d been working on all morning and piled into the car with my husband and Pinkerton and some blankets and bottles to watch the 20-foot swell that was pounding Ocean Beach. And as the three of us gazed through the salty mist to the beautiful violence of the sea until the sun was hugging the horizon, time was both inexorably passing, and gloriously still. And for those hours it was neither waiting nor lost, but without doubt the most valuable thing I could spend.

4 thoughts on “Tick tock

  1. Bon matin à vous trois (Good morning to the three of you -‘I hope it’s the way to say it’; I try to not use tools like grammarly but maybe I should sometimes; Ah!Ah!Ah!).

    Interesting and wavy post, La Maestra. Time. What is time? It is still not easy to answer. The following +- 10 min. video (link below) try to explain it better than me. Very interesting indeed.

    Bon week-end to you, Sarah, Paul & Pinkerton. Amusez-vous bien! (Have fun!). Trick or treat for Halloween.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. seskona1icloudcom says:

    Love your thoughts (essentially) on ‘time’. It reminds me of Ancient Rome when a Triumph was held. They were amazing events! Read Tacitus. When is known is the conquering Caesar always had a another person in his chariot amidst this epic. The servant continuously whispered in Caesar’s ear amidst the praise & glory of Rome:”…remember time is fleeting…” just a thought….we always may choose to spend time as currency- time well spent is just that!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, another riveting blog, based on time and how we spend it. Incidentally, November 1st and 2nd, are celebrated in Mexico as “The Day of the Dead,” the concept for the animated film “Coco.” It honors our loved ones who passed from life into eternity. Miguel, the protagonist, and grandson of a famous musician in Mexico is transported to the Land of the Dead, where his grandfather teaches him to play the guitar. I loved your concert at The Hollywood Bowl.

    My take on time is reflected in my quote: “The only thing more valuable than time is who you spend it with.” Watching the glowing sun, on a blanket with Pinkerton and Paul, by the sea only proves to say:
    “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.” ~ L. Frank Baum, Wizard of Oz…

    Enjoy your blessings and honor those who helped make them possible! Listen to the music serenading in the daily breeze of life…



  4. Wayne Zelenak says:

    Sarah, In your narrative you speak of time, which some philosophers believe to be an illusion of reality. Others believe it is the most expensive commodity to spend. George Orwell is quoted with the pun “Who controls the past, controls the future: Who controls the present, controls the past.”
    Somewhere in between the quotes, we exist for a brief time in our journey through life.

    Like the profound words in cinema script about reality, C.F. Lewis wrote “For the present is the point at which time touches eternity.” We have the complicated task to choose each moment in life to achieve our desires, goals, and direction. Like a transient vapor, we will soon be part of eternity and judged by how we spent our time…



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