Editor's Note: For the first time in the history of the San Mateo County Fair, a 300-page anthology has been published that includes more than 100 stories, poems and essays from writers who submitted award-winning work for the fair's literary contest. The idea was the brainchild of Bardi Rosman Koodrin, a San Bruno resident who runs the fair's literary contest, and the anthology, titled "Carry the Light," features work from many Peninsula writers.
In this essay, Joan Currie seeks to understand time as a precious but fleeting asset.
From p. 255, "Gift of Time"
Because I would not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
I remember sitting at my bedroom desk trying to compose a poem for a ninth grade English class. As I gazed outside the window for inspiration, I saw that dusk had painted the sky a brilliant conch shell pink and a pale lavender blanket of snow cloaked the ground, save for a grove of birch trees whose silhouette looked like tall paper dolls pressed together in conversation.
At that moment I had the terrifying realization that death would come calling one day. I tried to grapple with the notion that I would not continue in my mind and body for eternity. My view of the world changed on that mid-November afternoon at the tender age of thirteen. Even though I was doomed to see things through the glass darkly as it were, from that day forth, what I did behold was with passion, amazement, and wonder.
At middle age, almost against my will, I have revisited that landscape of my youth. I am grateful for another opportunity to consider my mortality and make choices that will enhance my life as I begin a new chapter.
Time is the most valuable, but diminishing, asset I have. I am now very careful about with whom I give and receive the gift of time. I do not engage in personal relationships that are not joyful, loving, or satisfying and I aspire to have at least one positive experience each and every day.
You, too, can give yourself the gift of time—it is never too late to make a change!
Excerpted from "Carry the Light" with the permission of Sand Hill Review Press, the publisher. The book is available for purchase for $12 on Amazon.com.
Joan Currie is a writer, photographer and mixed media artist. See her blog, Satin & Sand, at www.satinandsand.com.