By Alyssa Bormes
When I was young, and I think this is the same for everyone who was once young, I loved to splash in puddles of water. Sometimes there would be a downpour and the street a block away from us would flood for a few hours. We would ride our bikes through the knee-high river and cheer when a slow moving car had that cool wake around its tires.
It was such a joy to have a puddle, or a lagoon, or an afternoon river. It was extra water and it needed to be enjoyed, splashed about, navigated … In some strange sense, the tiny ponds had a dignity and only children seemed to recognize it, offering a stomp of a rain boot which results in the triumph of a splash.
Today, I usually step around the puddles. I drive slowly through the fruits of a deluge and my bike is never out except on sunny days. From time to time there is still an enchantment in these tiny basins, but now I have a longing for a different sort of puddle, a puddle of time.
What is a puddle of time? It’s those astonishing moments, or hours, or afternoons. The breathing space between laundry, work, grocery shopping, yard work, appointments, and a host of other things. Perhaps we can predict its arrival or perhaps it astonishes us with its suddenness, but time puddles are lovely.
Do we splash in that extra time? Or do we maneuver around it? Do we busy ourselves with busyness? Or do we walk barefoot to feel the extra moments down to our toes?
In the past weeks, there was one flooded street of time. It was a day to enjoy a baseball game and late dinner with the family. It was only a few hours before the excess time would drain away, but I stored the memory in my heart in order to drink of it later. There have also been tiny forgotten puddles of time that the sun hasn’t gotten around to drying up. In those moments, I’ve shared a laugh with a friend before we get in our cars to get to the next thing, or I’ve gazed out the window at the changing leaves or have gotten my pillow into just the right position for a five minute retreat.
When I was young, water just wasting time sitting in one spot, was a gift. No matter the manner in which I splashed in it, it was always a cause of joy.
Time puddles are more elusive, which is why the moments of joy are so precious. They shouldn’t be mindlessly run over or maneuvered around or put to some better use. They are little gifts from God which get us through the rest of life. Over the years, I’ve discovered that the best way to spend a time puddle, is with a resplendent sort of splashing in it with galoshes full of gratitude.