The Busy-ness of Dying
Crabby Old Lady and the Ghoul

A TGB READER STORY: A Perspective on Time

By Melissa Hart

I’m sitting on my patio on a cool Arizona morning, drinking my tea and observing my yard. The birds are active, lizards are scurrying about, and the occasional rabbit gets under the fence, or perhaps there’s a nest under the shed.

Some mornings I’m thinking about the details of the day ahead, but today my mind wanders to deeper things.

I’ve watched the seasons go by from my spot on the patio. Birds come and go. Plants grow, get big and need to be trimmed. Nature continues on and it kes no difference if we’re here or not. It moves forward with no regard to our situation, our desires or our fears.

Time goes on.

We are currently stuck at home. Time passes; sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Some of us have family and friends nearby, some at a distance. Some of us have none at all. Some welcome alone time; some dread it.

This event is a fraction, a speck of our lives. Our lives are but a speck in history. Who will remember us? Have we made a difference? Will we make a difference? Will future humans look at our remains and relics and speculate about us?

Time is measured in eons. In geologic time the continents move imperceptibly. Glaciers come and go. Earthquakes happen. Floods, fire. The land changes in the present as it has in the past.

The dinosaurs wandered the earth for millions of years. Did they ponder their existence? Then the earth changed and they were gone. The earth was different, but life continued.

We have changed the face of the earth, too, for growth and survival and also by ignorance and greed. We have fought nature, but nature eventually adapts and continues.

Time goes on.

In reality, the future is always uncertain, except for this: We are here. We grow old. We pass on to whoever or whatever our next stop is. If we are lucky we have known joy, contentment, love. We have made a difference to someone. We found meaning in our lives.

My hope is that humans will eventually coexist with each other and with nature. But the world will exist with or without us. The future is always there, whatever part we play in it.

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[EDITORIAL NOTE: Reader's stories are welcome. If you have not published here or not recently, please read submission instructions. Only one story per email.]


Thank you Melissa for a soulful, contemplative piece that lifted me from daily events and troubles to bring me closer to understanding why we are here and the part we can play—even though time and the universe are too vast for full understanding.

Thank you for this. I often consider that we behave as if the world revolves around us, but we're only one species only 12,000 years into the Anthropocene epoch. Earth has been around a few billion years and apparently has a few billion years to go before burning up whether we survive or not. We probably need to get over ourselves and join the family.

Thank you, Melissa, for that perspective; I'd lost sight of it. <3

Very Good Melissa well said.

Melissa. Thank you for this "timeless" piece. Would you mind if I shared? I think my friends would appreciate your insight. At some risk, I am sending my email:

Ronnie: if you feel this is too risky, please email Melissa privately. Thank you dear lady.

Barbara, feel free to share this. I'm surprised to see it today because it was previously published in July. I guess you could say it is "timeless"! I do appreciate everyone's kind responses.

It seems to me these are facts societies need to be reminded of regularly, maybe take it a step further and have them leave the earth a little better place than they found it.

Spot on, especially now!

Is this you, Ronni? Love you always

Adie van der Veen...

Reader Stories are always written by people who read this blog, not me, and their byline is always at the top of the story.


Thank you for this. You are so correct in your observations. I too wonder what was my purpose here? Did I even do what was agreed on before I came? I told my eye doctor in January I was still here as a cancer survivor to "bear witness ." Sad as that is I am very aware of everything around me. All of the losses and gains. The tragedies and triumphs. My aging face in my mirror that needs cleaning.
But there must be more I can do.

Love this post. When I feel frustrated and angry over the present political situation in the White House, something like this post, gives me peace and the bigger picture.

We all fret too much over what cannot be changed in the short term, but will not matter a whit, in the long term. It’s all about perspective.
Be kind, enjoy life and try to do the right thing...that’s it.

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