Racing to beat the clock, the time, the minutes rushing by toward the dead line across which you may not step unless you too are recognizably dead. Because the deadlines, they do not move themselves, and you'd best be akin to them in outlook and aura to survive the beating you'll take as you approach them.
Which is to say, you'd best be nearly dead with effort by the time the dead line looms large in your personal horizon, or you haven't been playing the game properly.
The dead lines are there to beat out your vitality, to suck the shine from your eyes and the song from your heart and to introduce you to the deep dark of night and the silence in your brain as everything you once knew is replaced by the dank omnipresence of the dead line.
Too much, you might cry out, too much! With a mere 24 hours in a day, I can not create all that is required of me in the time that is left. I am not capable, I am not strong enough, I am not prepared for the face in the mirror that mocks my inability to rise to the occasion. Why am I not better at this? Why am I incapable of beating the deadline at its own game? Why do I find myself here in the dead of night, staring at the flickering mocking screens of my own failure as the white rabbit runs circles in my brain, checking the time on his huge pocket watch of shame?
Because, once again, I promised more than I could deliver...
Isn't he just the cutest thing EVER?
As I was driving to work this morning, I saw an old woman heading out for a day in the garden. She was stooped over, wearing a bright blue sweater in the 80-degree heat, and on her head she wore a green shower cap, which I suppose was there to protect her hairdo from the snags and oily plant residues she might encounter. In her hands were clutched a rake and a bushel-basket; I imagine she was going out to clean out the flower beds of any leaves that may have fallen from the enormous pecan and magnolia trees that dominate her yard.
All this I saw in sharp detail, because she was only about 4 feet from the traffic whizzing by at 60+ miles an hour.
I'll just bet you that she's lived in her house forever and a day. I'll bet you that on "moving-in day" all those years ago she never imagined that her sleepy dirt road would one day be a major commuting route for thousands of people, because her snug new house was miles and miles from Raleigh, and the only neighbors she had were the cows next door, and everyone in her part of the county worked the land. I'll bet she never thought that people would one day carry computers in their pockets or would shun the golden crops of tobacco that her husband raised. I'll bet as a young woman she went into the state capitol only on special occasions and washed her white gloves on Saturday nights. I'll bet that the radio played boogie-woogie as she washed the dishes after dinner and that she pretended "Rock of Ages" was her favorite song when the preacher asked. I'll bet she sat out in the yard on summer nights, creating a breeze with a paper fan cut in the shape of a coconut and painted with Hawaiian scenes, hoping for a storm to come to cool things down so she'd feel like finishing the ironing in the morning. I'll bet that she wore a flowered apron over her housedress as she watched her children play in the road after the rainstorm, they'd create small pinchpots from the wet red clay of the roadbed and watch out for the occasional "CAR!" that would motor past her little house way in the country.
And I'll bet, from time to time, she too wonders where the time went.