SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The last two weeks, or maybe three, have gone by in such a blur of classes, writing assignments, meetings - and all the sundry details of life like cooking and laundry and cleaning - that I was shocked yesterday to see it was Sept. 16. Where did the summer go?
Today, a Saturday, used to be my refuge from such a speedy life, but now seems like the day of the week I use to catch up with the all of those things I need to do, things that race ahead of me like the Roadrunner, just out of reach.
But last night I took the evening off to watch a favorite movie from the Star Trek movie series, one in which the crew of the Enterprise saves the people on a planet where age is meaningly because metaphasic radiation regenerates DNA and people never grow old. They have all the time they want to do whatever they want because they know tomorrow never really comes.
As I sit here with both knees aching, my wrists sore from typing and a slight backache starting to climb up my leg (damn that sciatic nerve), a visit with the Baku people might seem in order, for, say, a couple of hundred years.
The reason I like this particular Star Trek so much is a scene in which the lead actress (played by the lovely and talented Donna Murphy) teaches Captain Picard how to slow time down to enjoy a moment. In the movie, of course, a hummingbird nearby literally flies in slo-motion and the waterfall nearly stops.
But the other reason I like the movie is that it reminds me that you don't have to be taught by Donna Murphy how to do this (though I am in need of a tutor if she's not shooting a film). You need to slow yourself down and enjoy the moment.
As my son Dustin has taken to say recently: 'Breathe, Breathe.'
Kayaking on the American River right behind the house has had that kind of effect, in which suddenly coming up on a flock of geese ghosting across the water or drifting up on a log covered with snapping turtles is almost magical. Better yet might be to simply sit on the riverbank and watch the water flow by.
If I get a chance to sit by the river today - no make that when I go to the river today - I'm going to focus on the water and see if I can't slow time down as Ms. Murphy taught Jean-Luc.
All the school work, writing, getting ready for next week's meetings and other sundry matters will still be waiting for me back at the house.
The trick will be to enjoy that moment and forget the paragraph above this one.