Then [Gollum] thought the time had come to ask something hard and horrible. This is what he said:
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.
Poor Bilbo sat in the dark thinking of all the horrible names of all the giants and ogres he had ever heard told of in tales, but not one of them had done all these things. He had a feeling that the answer was quite different and that he ought to know it, but he could not think of it. He began to get frightened, and that is bad for thinking. Gollum began to get out of his boat. He flapped into the water and paddled to the bank; Bilbo could see his eyes coming towards him. His tongue seemed to stick in his mouth; he wanted to shout out: “Give me more time! Give me time!”
But all that came out with a sudden squeal was: “Time! Time!”
Bilbo was saved by pure luck. For that of course was the answer.
It’s dark now when I run the Charles River at 5am, on the days I’m in Boston. Where I used to be running into the rising in that first mile, now I don’t see any light on the horizon until I’m crossing back over the Mass Ave bridge.
I mean, next week it’s October, so it makes sense.
As I was blowdrying my hair this morning, I saw a cluster of grey hair at my temple. Maybe they were silver; it was hard to see in the fluorescent light of the shower room. But they were there.
I have always said that I want to age gracefully, and for me, that means letting those grey hairs live with the rest of my hair with no alteration. I still wear the most minimal of makeup, I do not wear heels (not since marathon training, anyway – hurt my feet too much)… to color my hair in order to cover up grey seems disingenuous somehow.
I am lately more aware of the passage of time. I feel as if I’m being swept along a river – the part of the river where it narrows and deepens and drops elevation, and the current is picking up. There are rapids here – moments where, as I’m being carried by the force of the current, it spills over my head and I, fearing drowning, work at keeping my head above the surface.
And I feel like this river of time will keep on sweeping me along, dropping elevation and speeding up until it just ends with a 100-foot drop off the edge of a cliff – a drop which I will not survive.
Life IS terminal, after all.
What scares me the most about the passage of time, the devouring of all I know, the rush of the water, is the chance that I’ll miss it all. That I might be so focused on staying afloat and making sure my head stays above water, focused on where the water is GOING… that I will end up nearing that cliff whenever it’s my time to leave this earth and regret that I did not pay attention.
So I’m trying to change that. And it’s a fight to force myself to slow down, like I’m swimming against the current, to breathe and really BE in the moment fully.
It’s harder than you’d think it would be.
I feel like Bilbo, wanting to yell, Give me more time! More time! But it sticks in my throat, and all that comes out is a squeak.