Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To Us - Aiming for Sixty

It's the first of Spring.

And according to the metaphor of my life as one long hour, I'm about to enter the final minute.

Before I go on, don't put a grim spin on this. Another hour lies ahead, and I fully intend to enter it. I don't really expect I'll see that second hour through – another fifteen minutes, maybe half an hour might be nice.
Would I even want to see that next hour through, and live to be 120? Yeah, probably. I used to not think my 50's would be much of anything, but look at me now! I'll take what I can get, and be glad for it.

But the point is – this isn't any depressed or desperate looking toward death. That figure will make its entrance in its own time, and I'll hope to clasp its hand with some dignity and an abiding sense of gratitude.

Yes, I'm excited about nearing 60. And I like the metaphor of the hour, each minute one year – the sweep of the second hand around the dial, shadowing the Earth's spinning journey around the Sun, hitting that 3, representing March, birthday to birthday, equinox to equinox.

And now I find myself almost at the hour mark, when the second hand will align with the hand whose one sweep represents the entirety of my life so far. What a long hour it's been, but how quickly those minutes are ticked off.

I had an interesting observation: that I moved so often during the first half of my hour. The first quarter of my life took me from Detroit, to New York, to Berlin, back to New York again, and saw me to the start of my life away from home, off to boarding school at Exeter.

That second quarter sweep saw me through Exeter, then to Harvard and Cambridge, and then a bunch of shorter stops, many lasting less than a minute, going by my hour metaphor: Atlanta, San Francisco, Montreal, let's not forget Mississippi! Norfolk, Detroit and Rochester in small doses. Kansas City for almost a full minute, then Seaside, Oregon for almost another. Then on to Seattle. My regret is not having traded some of those roads of North America for pathways through Africa and Asia and South America. Even Europe I've only experienced in brief nibbles. (but there's still next hour).

But look how I've slowed. The entire last half hour in two cities! More than 10 minutes in Seattle, and now, almost twenty in Toronto! Amazing. Never would've thunk it!

But wait a minute. Just that. A minute to go before the hour is closed. One more brilliant dash around the sun before summing up. And what'll I do with it. A minute goes by so quickly. And – as though to compensate – each is denser, richer, fatter and more over-layered with meaning, and with intent that spreads in every direction.

I'm intoxicated by this hour, by the quickening spin of the dial, the excitement of this symbolic minute that, in reality, means no more than any other. I sense that as the hands come around, to meet in some unbelieving supplication, they will generate some vibration that will shatter something in me that has waited all this while. Something will finally and fully ripen. Something will truly come full circle. Maybe I do mean some kind of dying, after all; but if so, it will be the birthing that matters, because even the last minute leads to the next.

My friend Gerry begins his 60th spin today. Mine starts just next week. Zik's will follow. And Debbie and Donna's later this summer. And Thomps, and Greg, and Lucie, and John, Lauren, Rachel and Tom, Joan, Faith and so many others, will be a little ahead or a little behind. The sky is full of us Sun Spinners. Going round and round, coming full circle, tying up loose ends and discovering what's next.

Happy Birthdays to Us All!


  1. you write so well, appreciate reading this very much Kirby!