I have seen the sun come and go through the sky, east to west, east to west, more than a hundred times a hundred different days. I have watched the seasons come and go, come and go, hundreds of different times. Rain has fallen, softly at times, or in torrents, upon my upturned face, mingling with my tears on so many different occasions, I can’t begin to recall each one. The sunshine has rested hot upon my skin, though not enough times, for I have found one can never get enough of those warming rays. The cold has cut me with its brittle blade far too many of my days upon the earth, for a little cold goes a long, long ways. The breezes have swept past again and again. The wind has whipped me gently, harshly, frighteningly, refreshingly, several thousand times over countless days. I have watched the hands of the clock sweep around the dial on at least ten thousand of those different days. Storms have beaten the earth and the sun has baked it as I stood with my feet on the ground of this planet that is hurtling through space. A hundred thousand lightning strikes have hit that ground with a deadly, searing shock. Trees have grown, died, fallen, and decayed, providing nutrients for the saplings that have sprung from their roots. Time has not stopped, not for a moment, for any event. Good, bad, catastrophe, tense times, blessed times. Time ticks past. It does not miss a single beat. Nor does it go backward. The dial only spins one direction…forward, always forward. A heartbeat that is ever beating in the background of our existence, it pushes onward. My heart has thudded with it in a crazy rhythm. Pounding. Throbbing. Pushing me on. We may try to look over our shoulder, but there is no going back. No do-overs. We can only hope to learn from what has been. We can only hope to do better when we take our next step. The clouds have come and gone and come again. They have enveloped me, frightened me, delighted me, passed over me from one corner of the sky to the other, causing shadow and shade. The heavens have been dark and light and dark and light, like a flickering lamp, time after time, day after day. The moon has come and disappeared, sometimes a sliver, sometimes big and bold and glowing like a spotlight in the night before it bids adieu when light creeps back into the heavens. Leaves have grown and fallen, cycle after cycle. Limbs have crashed to the ground. Wounded. Broken. I have grown old with the trees. At first, when I was young, hope pulsed through my veins just as sap pounded through the fledgling fiber of a green tree. Now, I am dead and dry. I have become brittle, as has their aging, ringed wood. I no longer expect growth; that time has come and gone. Nor do I look forward to tomorrow. I have ceased to strain toward dreams for which eager fingers used to reach. I have turned inward, as the leaves turn in just before a storm. My branches also have crashed to the ground when the raging winds have tossed me from side to side and flung me without mercy. I too am wounded. Broken. My eyes are weary from straining to see what I can’t see. My heart is tired. I have survived tides that ebbed and flowed. Floods. Droughts. Disappointments. Rejection. Pain. I have lived too long with darkness in my soul. I have lived too long without sunlight in my deepest being. One thing I have learned: There is never enough time. Another thing I have learned: There is too much time. Never enough to heal, to progress, to overcome. Too much to endure. It has gone by too fast to contemplate. Too quickly to capture. Too rapidly to understand how precious and rare a commodity it is. The fast forward feature has been stuck in hyper-drive. It has gone too slowly to bear. Been almost unsurvivable. Nearly too heavy to carry. Because what it required of me to live through the moment was more than I had to offer. More than I could muster. The pain of the weight was excruciating. The slow motion feature was jammed in snail mode. The pain of how time has escaped me, fled from me, slipped away, is also excruciating. I have wasted my moments. As the clouds sped from one end of the sky to the other, as the sun dipped and the moon stretched, waking from slumber, as the trees bowed in the fierce winds that tossed them and when sleet has stung my cheek, I have lost my opportunities and wasted my allotted fleeting seconds. The earth has circled the flaming sun a thousand times and I have watched, stupidly, letting it spin without redeeming the moments given me. I thought I would eventually find my way. I thought there would be plenty more circles to come. I didn’t realize how finite was the supply. With the optimism of youth, I saw the days as immeasurable and unlimited. Coming and going and coming again without end. And indeed, the planets will continue in their orbit, the sun and moon will yet dance in the heavens, stars shining bright and blinking out night after night as the warmth of a new morning starts the circle once again. But I will not always be an observer of the dance. There will come a time when I will abruptly cease to exist, at least upon this planet and within this dimension. The clouds may scurry through deep blue skies, but my eyes will no longer behold them. The warmth of golden rays will no longer penetrate my skin. Seasons will still come and go, but I will not have to endure the frigid cold of winter, the wild storms of spring or the sadness of fall. Nor will I know the freedom and carefree abandon of summer. The circles will continue to spin, dark, light, rain, wind, snow, ice, lazy warmth, cloudy, clear, and new years ready to be written by eager hands. But my circle will close. Quietly. Without fanfare. And life will go on without me as I return to the dust of the earth from which I came.