Time, Time, Time: Read Less & Get a Life!

Time, time time, see what’s become of me
While I looked around for my possibilities.—“A Hazy Shade of Winter,” by Paul Simon

It is nearly the Winter Solstice–my favorite winter holiday.  I much prefer it to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.   

Tonight it is bitterly cold, though, with a thin layer of snow just fallen, lights blinking on the battery-operated tinsel tree, cats batting at ornaments, and the scent of jasmine tea wafting through the house.  So here I am on the couch, cozily scribbling about two tenses, the past and future as I wait for the future brighter days.  (The present rarely exists.  It’s much too shattering.)

 Here are my plans for the Winter Solstice:  Read less!  Do something!  Save the environment!  Act now!  

Or maybe I should do that the day after the Solstice.

Mins you, reading is my life.  It is action.  It expands our world, shapes who we are, and helps us survive the worst of times.  It  is also a drug: the best books lift us above the hysteria of the twenty-first century.  I especially love the Victorians, who take their ethical dilemmas seriously, and interweave morals with the action of the plot. I personally can shrug off the end of the world if I have a copy of Bleak House. I’m stocking up on Victorians for 2030, the year climate change becomes irreversible.  

As so often happens, I have read almost too much (150 books) this year, but I have also discarded tomes that started promisingly and then fizzled.  I have a dismaying pile of partially-read new books on the nightstand:  I gave up on most of these after one-third.  When I tell myself to read less, I want the time back I lost on those books.  

“Reading less” is a bizarre resolution, I know. I see a lot of:  “Read harder!” “Read faster!” “Do the Goodreads Challenge!” That is so darling, so peppy, so optimistic, and yet so wrong.  I have no team spirit.  Yet it does kill time making checklists, photographing book hauls, scribbling in Planners, reorganizing TBRs, and photographing cats sitting adorably beside piles of books (my cats are not photogenic).  And I consider those activities “reading less,” so I’m allowed to do them, even though I don’t join the team.

We who live at the end of the world don’t have much team spirit.  Icebergs melting, impeachment hearings, the rollback of women’s rights, defunding Planned Parenthood, building the wall, Facebook scandals… we are exhausted.  It is an angry age. Sometimes we wonder as we look around, What have humans contributed to the earth?  Well…  I’m not sure humans have done much.  They can’t work together for change.  It has been a chaotic year.   But then we can’t see the future.   Hope on, hope ever!  

Well, it is officially tomorrow (after midnight).  So I guess I’d better get ready to save the world.

And here is the video of Simon and Garfunkel singing “A Hazy Shade of Winter”

4 thoughts on “Time, Time, Time: Read Less & Get a Life!”

  1. and Happy Solstice to you, too. Even though I like to read I don’t like the darkness. Today is the 19th. If the turn of the year is the 21st, then we are going into the four darkest days of the year — two days in and two days out and then we are back to where we are now, with each day getting brighter.

    I grieve for the earth, which has been beautiful in my time and much appreciated by me. My children will live into the worse days (bad days are already here) and what my grandchildren will experience may be the worst. Discussions of the subject have been clinical, detached, as if the results of our folly will affect others, not me.

    The light returns and we must savor the days we have now. Happy Solstice.

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    1. Yes, I’m a little ahead of the Solstice! But the brightness is coming, as you say. Thank God.

      I know, the future feels tragic already. It is such a beautiful earth. Perhaps they can slow down what’s happening. I suppose by “they” I mean the politicians and the law. The best thing we can do is appreciate what’s still here. We’re just not organized to change our lifestyle. Odd to think that these are the best times some will ever know.

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  2. Yes I’m not liking the cold and dark this year: I am suffering more from the cold and find I can’t drive in the night any more. So yesterday a rare treat of visiting friend had to end at 4:20 so I could get home before dark. I like the look of the Winter Solstice decorations, of snow the first days through my window, the old carols ….

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    1. Yes, the cold bothers me now. It’s partly because women’s clothes, even at sporting goods stores, are not warm enough. But I love going out and looking at the Xmas lights, which many leave up till spring. Night driving can be hazardous. ,but I know you love concerts, so it restricts you.

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