Saturday, April 22, 2006


The place around here is changing again. A word of caution: it is easy to confuse time and place. Yesterday morning a few canoes put out on the bay, some chronic beach people were back looking paler since the brief cold spell, and this morning bright spots of color from several beach umbrellas enliven the scene. I emerge to bask lizard-like on a stony wall while bathers frolic or relax in the sand, kids and roller-skaters race in the street, the sun warm and bright. There is a definite change in the air; “balmy” can in some contexts mean “crazy” and may indeed suit some of us intending to have summer fun so early in the year.

The day wears on and some compelling force I do not quite understand brings my attention to the changing light and shade; the effect is to shadow more darkly the backs of everything and highlight the details of each object in clear and bold relief. “Look away from the sun in the afternoon” is the painter’s axiom, “to see true color in nature”. Shadows have become more prominent and people moving in and out of them seem oblivious to the stage-craft, the drama, and the marked visual changes they are bringing about. The shadows are not oblivious however, and continue to inch longer and splash more widely along pavements and sandy stretches, mysteriously moving out from behind trees and figures into the open spaces. Things are changing; a different place and time—like last year and the year before, and the one to come, but different still than all the others. Time and life have already moved ahead perceptively--and lights will go on in all our houses later this day.

“Those hazy, lazy, crazy days of summer” are almost upon us—and also foreshadow their oncoming death. In these our times of quick changes, information glut, E-mail, cell- phone messages, and ubiquitous TV—shifting sands beneath us, one writer noted that it is important to always try to say something eternal. Surely nothing said here so far approaches that standard; specious times and tides are perhaps the most perishable of all.

Time, and place, and person—these you would be asked to identify to prove your sanity out here so early, but it is already proven that time and place are hopelessly blurred; the person, you, are the only eternal thing so far. Our Lord Jesus promised He would be with you forever, and will send the Holy Spirit to guide you, and that is perhaps what eternity is really all about. But then, maybe summer will prove to be eternal too.

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