time is of the essence

This is what 5:45 p.m. E.D.T looked like after we switched the clocks. It's darker now. So much for saving the daylight.

It's a month before Christmas and people are starting to panic, scurry, and deny that it is already this time of year. How time flies! It seems like only yesterday... Where does the time go?

It's time. It passes. We think we've got all the time in the world. We don't.

I'm reading God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens for bookclub.

He writes:

"The history of the cosmos begins, if we use the word "time" to mean anything at all, about twelve billion years ago. (If we use the word "time" wrongly, we shall end up with the infantile computation of the celebrated Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh, who calculated that the earth -"the earth", alone, mind you, not the cosmos- had its birthday on Saturday, October 22, in 4004 BC, at six in the afternoon...

...As a species on earth, according to many sanguine experts, we do not have many more eons ahead of us.

If you've got time, you could read the book yourself. Unless you think it would be a waste of time.

I am with Ursula K. Le Guin, 80, and her take on spare time. In her blog [http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Blog2010.html] she said it best when filling out an anonymous questionnaire for the sixtieth reunion of Harvard.

Ursula writes:

"...to the Questioners of Harvard my lifework has been a “Creative Activity,” a hobby, something you do to fill up spare time. Perhaps if they knew I’d made a living out of it they’d move it to a more respectable category; but I rather doubt it....

In my case I still don’t know what spare time is because all my time is occupied. It always has been and it is now. It’s occupied by living...

What is Harvard thinking of? I am going to be eighty-one tomorrow. I have no time to spare."

My friend's six year old daughter has a particularly good opinion about sexy time. The conversation went something like this:

"Mom, do you have sexy time with dad?"
My friend pauses - it's finally time for the talk.
"Thought so."
"What do you think sexy time is?"
"Oh, you get in your underwear together. Sometimes dance around."
My friend smiles.
"Did you have sexy time with boys before dad?"

Overtime. Theoretically spare time. Ideally not interfering with sexy time. At least you are being rewarded with cash.

Many songs have used time as a theme: Time in a Bottle, Working 9 to 5, Time is on My Side, Time After Time. Of course the famous line from Kenny Rogers The Gambler "...there'll be time enough for countin', when the dealin's done". And if you don't know when that is, perhaps you shouldn't be wasting your time, gambling.

"Just another five minutes." No. Neither right nor wrong, it always takes longer than you think, whatever it is. The laundry, dinner preparations, the drive home, writing this blog, your commute, sex!, editing a book, doing a workout, being on hold with a customer service representative, cleaning the back yard, shucking oysters at home, vacuuming, groceries, movie line ups, lunch, savouring that lofty, rich, expensive wine.

Time outs. In addition to disciplining children and pets, let's hope the Saskatchewan Roughriders keep strategy and due diligence top of mind with their time outs next weekend during the Grey Cup.

Once upon a time, I worked on a CBC TV show about lifestyle and culture. The executive producer told me about a story he tried to get. He was to film the caribou migration in the Yukon. They spent a week in the area filming everything but caribou.

At the beginning of each day when the light was good he would ask the Chief, do you think the caribou will run today? To which the Chief did not reply immediately. He stood. He looked. He breathed deeply. Three minutes passed. He stood. He watched. He turned and faced the east. Another minute. He turned the other way. One more minute.

Not today, he said and turned and went inside.

From the Lord of the Rings, 'The Shadow of the Past', Gandalf says it best,

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

I could go on but I'm out of time.