Not only do seasons change but how we measure them alters as time progresses. I realized this morning that Mother’s Day, my best ever I might add, had come and gone and I didn’t even know who won the Kentucky Derby. There was a time, back when I still had a Mother, that May was as much about that race as it was about flower baskets and hand drawn cards with couplet sentiments.
I was often at risk for getting knocked about a bit this time of year for leaving evidence that I had perused the sports pages before my father, he slept in on Sunday, only arising in time to drag us all to whatever church of god or academia he was worshipping at that week. Horse racing was at its peak in spring, and baseball had just begun. These were the only two sports I cared to read about so fall and winter I was safe since then it was only the funny papers and the World News that interested me, and those could wait until the afternoon when they were tossed to us children strewn about the living room floor. But this time of year all the bits of really important details missed by not being allowed to actually glue my transistor radio to my ear were available in the big, beautiful Sunday paper’s sports section, and so the day I am remembering I was up before any of them.
I sat reading in the big red overstuffed chair waiting for the auspicious “thump” of arrival and then quietly opened the front door. Funny thing about parental hearing, it has a superhuman acuteness for those actions progeny wish to conceal; so like Elmer Fudd, I was vewy, vewy quiet. We had a working television that day, a sometimes thing, I turned on the morning cartoons to lay sound cover. They always started Sunday morning with these Christian dramas, then maybe there was Gumby or Felix the Cat, or maybe Mighty Mouse. I don’t remember anything after the drama as I was thoroughly buried in newsprint Nirvana until others began stirring and The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show started.
By than I had already devoured every tasty detail offered on everything from the situation in Panama to the stealing of “The Little Mermaid” statue in Copenhagen (if I found out when that happened I could place today’s root memory, I also remember that whatever year I am channeling was the year I met my first mention of Mandela) and then with religious reverence opened the sports page. That year I remember “Northern Dancer” won and I didn’t get to watch it. (Ha! Thanks to Google I realize I am thinking of 1964). The next year it was “Lucky Debonair” and by then I had read every Marguerite Henry in the library. I don’t remember any winner’s names after that although I still followed the Triple Crown until my adolescents and Secretariat, but everyone knows him because he was the horse that didn’t quit even when all the odds were against him.
I watched the race Secretariat won but by then my time measuring the year by the races had passed. My plastic horses were no longer daily fed grass in shoe box stables. Time had marched on and I was immersed in Lothlorien, Burrough’s many “found” manuscripts or toiling and cavorting in Dicken’s England, and longing for life to hurry up and arrive. Not realizing it had, every morning, every minute because everything changes, not just seasons, and time passes quickly, even when it seems to us it is holding still.
The Kentucky Derby is called the most exciting two minutes in sports. I Googled the replay this morning and this years race lives up to the hype, http://www.kentuckyderby.com/news/videos/kentucky-derby-2012-replay, I’ll Have Another finds his stride in the final stretch and comes from behind to take the race by a nose. My life this Mother’s Day kind of feels like that. A lifetime of running hard and always holding the ignominious position of seventh to ninth, not last, not losing, but not in the running for the roses. Somehow this year I have found my stride and have come from behind to win by a nose. I am grateful for today, but trying just as hard to not label this consolation “good” as I strove to not label the challenges, the desolations, “bad” (yes, I am reading St. Ignatious brought on by rewatching “Joan of Arcadia”.)
No telling how tomorrow’s race will go, no need to know, in this moment. This now, I am grateful to be still running. And just like the horse “I”ll Have Another”, I may be the focus of the spotlight, but the moment itself was the cumulative result of a multitude of efforts. I cannot take credit for my win but I am certainly enjoying the moment, before it passes.
Today I measure the seasons by the weather. I am learning to grow green things and so I am more aware of the intensity of sun and the scarcity of moisture; and I am caring for a home and a car owner so I measure the passage of time by how long it is till I need to change my oil, my A/C filters, or add power to the meter. I no longer have plastic horses, I get my news paper on line and my mother and my father remain only as memories and character quirks in my siblings, myself and our children. Much has changed, but I am still here, and my day has begun.
It’s Post time.
And the horses are in the gates…..how will I run today’s race…