SOLC Day 8: The Press of Time


March 2020 SOLC–Day 8
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

I woke this morning thinking of a grade school friend whom I know is going through a very difficult time. We’re really memory friends at this point, seldom in touch, but maintaining affection for our long-ago close friendship. We may have spoken three or four times in the past decade. I see her occasional Facebook posts, and I imagine she sees mine. I can’t remember when we last saw each other.

Last summer, she called because she was in the area, and hoped we might get together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out, but we chatted for a while.  She shared her news. Since then, I have thought of her and her family so often. But I haven’t called. I haven’t written. I’ve had all sorts of good intentions but I’ve been waiting to find the right words. They are so elusive.

Feeling unsettled this morning, I opted to go down to the river. I hadn’t been there in weeks. Arriving, I opened the car door to hear the birds singing, their chorus louder and more diverse than on my last visit. These days, you can see and feel the change in the air. Winter isn’t quite so firmly entrenched. 

At the river, solid ice had retreated slightly, and newly opened patches of water reflected the clouds. I glanced across the water for the mergansers but didn’t see them. Had they already departed? I felt a twinge that they’d left without me noticing. More and more, I’m feeling the press of time and lost opportunities. 

I huddled in my jacket. The cold this morning seemed heavier, deeper than the temperature suggested. My fingers ached. Even though the sky was awash in color, and the sun lingered just below the horizon, I thought about leaving.

I wandered a bit, here and there, my eye caught by the intriguing ice sculptures along the water’s edge or the geometric skim of advancing ice on the water.  I listened to an unfamiliar bird call. A flash of movement over the river caught my eye, and I turned to see a merganser skimming through the air, heading for a patch of open water. I watched him throw his wings open and land in a spray of water. I smiled slightly, relieved. They hadn’t left quite yet.

I lingered a bit longer, watching the rising sun gild the trees, then slide up and behind a low bank of clouds. I waited for it to emerge. Taking pictures in the growing light, I noticed a few more mergansers on the water.

Then I put away my camera, got in my car, and went home to write my friend.



14 thoughts on “SOLC Day 8: The Press of Time

  1. Tim Gels says:

    Thank you for a meaningful slice. I have found myself in this position more times that I care to admit, and it is always (to use your word) unsettling. It always works out for the best when I just go ahead and call or write, and I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First off, love the term “memory friend.” Now I have a name for those who I don’t see anymore, see rarely, or just via social media. There is a place for them in my heart and mind. So glad your walk inspired you to reach out. Now I’m pondering reaching out as well. Thanks, Molly, for always inspiring me, whether it’s with words, images, or actions. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. In my experience, it’s not what you say or write to a friend, it’s that you wrote at all. Disgraced Woody Allen said, 90% of life is just showing up. If I wait for profound, I wait forever. I just give it a shot. Little matters what I say; much matters that I made the effort. Congrats.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      You’re absolutely right, Dan, and I know this from having written or said things in the past and from being on the receiving end. For some reason, this lesson is one that needs repeating for me.


  4. Amanda Potts says:

    “memory friends” – yes, that is the perfect phrase for it. Thank you for that. I, too, have hesitated because I don’t know what to say or how to say it. I love how the second part of your post reflects the mood of the first part. Emerson said, “Nature always wears the colors of the spirit” and this shows the truth in that. The reflective almost melancholy moment drew me in; I was happy when you went home to write.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      I love that Emerson quote, Amanda, and have already copied it into my notebook. I am also very happy that I went home and wrote. This afternoon the sun shone brightly and blue skies prevailed. Coincidence?…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jsementelli says:

    this was beautiful and reminded me of my lost but good intentions

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This made me think of a couple of high school friends. I see their occasional posts, but haven’t spoken to either of them in years. I just don’t have the words, but maybe, just maybe, they will come if I’m the one to reach out.

    Thanks for this thoughtful Sunday slice! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Good luck connecting with those long ago friends. I had a Zoom “meeting” with college friends from around the U.S. last night–what fun! We hope to make it a regular thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gail Aldous says:

    Being in nature always makes me feel better, too. It seems like you observe nature’s beauty around you soaking in through your senses specific details as I do. Being present in the moment putting aside worry, problems leaves you free to rejuvenate, gain peace.

    Your writing again paints pictures in my mind so I feel like I’m there. Your build up to seeing the merganser is very effective. I love the line, “throw his wings open and land in a spray of water.” Your use of “throw his wings open” makes me think the merganser is landing just for you because you were searching for him.

    I enjoyed the whole post about your memory friend and relate to that. The ending circling back to the beginning and solving the problem is also effective. Thank you for sharing.


  8. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, I have been in your position before. Guilt lingers but good intentions never amount to much. Being one with nature added clarity to your situation. So glad that you found peace when outside with nature and got some gorgeous shots.


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