My Morning Run
The morning is such a beautiful thing. If a day is comparable to a lifetime, the morning is a baby—bright, crisp, and innocent. And most of all, each morning is feeble, in the sense that it subsists for a few hours then is lost in the past.
When I woke up for a run this morning at 6:30am, the sunlight hadn’t quite kissed the tops of the huge trees on my street. The ivory clouds were the belly of a quilt, the edges dissipating into hues of lavender and pale yellow. The breeze was fresh and delicate, which served as a pleasant change from the soupy North Carolina heat. Even the air smelled like autumn—cinnamon-y and slightly like stagnant tea. A feeling of bliss resonated throughout me as my running shoes clapped the pavement in a constant patter. All I could think about was how fortunate I was to be in that moment.
Last night I (finally) watched the Notebook. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the movie/book by Nicholas Sparks, it’s a captivating narrative of a pair of young lovers, Allie and Noah. Their romance commences as a blithe summer fling, but when fall rounds the corner their relationship falls to pieces in consequence of Allie departure for college in New York. Despite their time apart, they are always in the back of each other’s mind, which leads to them ultimately ending up together.
In old age, Allie suffers from dementia and forgets their life together. When she has a brief period of lucidity, she writes their story in a notebook and scrawls on the back cover, “Read this to me, and I’ll come back to you”. The movie is recounted by an elderly Noah, who reads Allie’s notebook to her. Each time Noah recites their story to her, Allie recalls everything for five minutes, and then forgets it all again. He does this over and over just to have those five minutes that she remembers. It made me appreciate how precious time is, especially with those you love.
The other day in algebra, we had my favorite substitute (don’t worry—this isn’t completely random). He’s an irritable old man with a stooped back and a British accent. His toothed handwriting, resembling gothic font, stifles the whiteboard with a list of rules so lengthy, you’d think it would be more fitting for a week’s instruction rather than a ninety minute class period. He’s my favorite because he easily could have been a character contrived in J.K. Rowling’s notebook as a professor at Hogwarts, rather than a substitute at a North Carolina public high school.
The class was growing off-track and chatty when he stood up and demanded that we quiet down. From my experience, it’s rare to come across a sub that is treated with the same level of respect as the usual teacher, and today was no exception. He sighed in exasperation, sat back down at his desk and muttered, “When they get old like me they’ll realize how precious time is. They’re only allotted so much of it… how wasteful it is to use it fruitlessly”. I believe what he said is true. Time passes at the same rate of speed whether you use it well or not. However, something about the way he said it seemed personal—almost penitent. It makes me wonder if he had a story like Allie and Noah’s, but I guess I’ll never know.
So I suppose it’s not just mornings that are fragile—so are days, years, and lifetimes. Be grateful for each day that you live, because time is never guaranteed. One of my favorite quotes is a lyric from a song by Nickelback:
“My best friend gave me the best advice
He said each day’s a gift and not a given right
Leave no stone unturned, leave your fears behind
And try to take the path less traveled by.”
I’d feel foolish to contribute too much of my thoughts on time management in this article, considering I’ve only been alive for a little over fifteen years and I’m still learning. On the other hand, I can’t tell you exactly how old my favorite substitute teacher is, but I can promise he’s been around for a while. Instead of taking advice from me, take it from the old man who thought no one heard him grumble those wise words.