Sunday, April 16, 2017

The course of time is not controlled by the lives that leave ripples in it. day Pooh and Piglet and Rabbit and Roo are all standing on the bridge playing Poohsticks. They all drop their sticks in the water when Rabbit says "Go!", and then run across to the other side of the bridge to see which stick is the winner. 
-The House at Pooh Corner   A.A.Milne

When my kids were little, Poohsticks was a favorite game. We would often take walks to a high bridge near our home and when we got to the bridge the kids would each pick out a stick, drop it off one side of the bridge and then run across to see which stick floated out first. Sometimes only one stick emerged, sometimes neither made it under the bridge to the other side. But the water kept flowing regardless of what kept the sticks from making it through.
In a river, small objects get caught up in the current and are moved further down stream before settling again, large logs wedged against a boulder divert the water until the river seemingly follows a new course; small pebbles are buried under silt, and sticks left spinning in an eddy will eventually rot and disintegrate. But all the time, the water just keeps flowing. 
Waterfall on a recent hike

I have been thinking recently about the flow of time. Much like a river, time just keeps moving along. 
Living so far away from family and lifelong friends forces me to recognize that time for us, and for those we "left behind" does not stand still. While the relationships are alive in our hearts and minds, the day-to-day activities of life demand forward movement. The physical space that we once filled is now filled by others and likewise, new friends have settled into the flow of our lives. 
This summer we will welcome our first grandchild, and we will be in the States when she is born. Another ex-pat friend was just in the States to meet her first grandchild and I know that she left part of her heart there when she finally needed to return home to Spain. I recognize that we will also experience the ache of saying good-bye to our granddaughter when autumn arrives and we return home.
In the years ahead, friends and family will pass away and we will not be there in the final moments. In time, Sam and I will have injuries and illnesses, and no family will be near to help care for us. These are some of the more painful realities of choosing to live in another country. 
But there are others who fill in those spaces left empty by our move to Spain.
Last night we babysat for two delightful neighbor kids, and as I watched Sam "gallop" around the table during a rousing game of "Pony-opoly," it was clear that we are filling the role of grandparents to these kids, as their actual grandparents live in the UK. 
On a walk with one of our British grandkids.

Another neighbor is temporarily without a washer and I have done several loads of laundry for her; she said that it makes her Belgian mother happy to know that someone is helping out her daughter; and I hope and trust that others will be there for our kids in the same way when it is needed.
Laundry delivery

When we return to the States this summer there will be many changes, some more obvious than others. Everyone we see will be one year older, as are we. There will be new houses where last year there were only trees. Roads will be recently widened; favorite shops and restaurants may be gone. All reminders that time moves on. 
The course of time is not controlled by the lives that leave ripples in it. 

Meanwhile in Spain we continue to enjoy each day. Sam is working hard cutting back the spring growth of weeds, but he stops and looks around and tells me, "I love it here." 
Loving our view

We wake each morning when the sun comes in our bedroom window and I frequently comment, "Oh look, another beautiful day." 
The actual color of the sky most days.

Each night this past week we fell asleep smothered by the light of the moon as it shone in the same bedroom window.
Full moon shining in the bedroom window (the lights of Bubion in the distance)

Time flows on, but all we have for certain is this moment, and we remind each other regularly to stop, take in the moment, let go of the things we cannot control, or that simply don't matter, and accept the calm that our peaceful surroundings offer.
A poppy growing out of one of the walls.



  1. A lovely and thought-provoking post, Laura. Love from Sicily xx

    1. Thanks so much. I appreciate your interest and feedback 😊