Slow Down and Taste the Lemonade
Not far from home, on a grassy perch at the intersection of a neighborhood drive and a busy road, the two girls wait. It’s hard not to notice them sitting there under a tree with their table and makeshift sign, jumping up and waving each time a car goes by. Slow down, they say. Take a break. Buy some lemonade.
But of course most cars whiz by, the drivers on their way to work or errands or whatever busyness the day requires. Doesn’t matter that the sky is cloudless and the humidity finally washed away with last night’s shower leaving a pleasant breeze in its place. Doesn’t matter that the young entrepreneurs are hopeful and the drinks they’re selling are homemade. Doesn’t matter that the price amounts to little more than spare change and the diversion will only take a moment, maybe two.
Slow down, they say. Take a break. Buy some lemonade.
Apparently what matters more to the passersby is keeping to schedule, not stopping, not losing time.
Besides, the girls will be there again. Just like the beaches will be waiting, the water will be warm. The tennis courts will be open as will the golf courses. There will be plenty of time for moonlit walks, dinners with friends, afternoons on the porch wrapped up in a book. They will all be there, waiting like the girls for us, whenever we’re ready, whenever we can take a break, whenever we stop driving, driving, driving.
By the way, the reason I know about the girls on the side of the road is because I, too, have driven by them. Not once. Not twice. Okay. Many, many times. And each time, there was this feeling in the pit of my stomach, deep and gnawing, that I was going too fast, passing by too quickly, missing a chance that might not come again. Yet, despite it, I’m sad to admit I kept to my schedule. I didn’t stop. I didn’t lose time.
Lose time. How do you do that I wonder. I mean, really. Time is a gift presented to us the very second we’re born, a shiny piggy bank filled with all of our moments, our days, our years. Only trouble is, we can’t see into our bank, we can’t crack it open and spill out its contents, we’ve got no way of knowing how much is in there. How much we’ve got. How much we’ve got left. There’s no way to save it or store it or deposit more minutes to replenish the ones we’ve already gone through.
All we can do is spend our time. Carefully. Thoughtfully. Consciously. And appreciate our moments along the way.
If we go faster and faster, does time speed up to keep pace or does it just seem that way? And if we slow down, might time return the favor?
From the window in my office, I can see the sky, cerulean and cloudless. There’s a breeze, too, fresh and inviting, stirring up some papers on my desk and some thoughts in my head.
There are so many things I’ve been meaning to do before the summer ends. There’s a friend who wants to go for a walk with our dogs, another who’s hoping we can play tennis. There’s a great coffee shop where I’ve been meaning to take my dad. I haven’t been on the bike trail in a long time or watched the sun slip into the horizon beyond the beach. They just started serving pistachio soft serve at my favorite ice cream stand.
And yes, I know a great place to stop for lemonade.
Photo by Rod Long