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Essays by Karen Anderson: No Time

Illustration by Kacie Brown

Many years ago, my first husband and I had just moved into a house in the woods. It was early May and we stood on the deck, admiring the tiny new leaves on all the trees—like a pale green cloud hanging in the branches.

“Oh, it’s so beautiful,” I said. “I wish it could last.”

“There isn’t time,” he said.

He was right, of course. The growing season is short and living things can’t linger on the way to fruition, to harvest. And yet there is a human longing to hang onto beauty, to happiness.

When my daughter was nine, I thought it was the best year yet. She was interesting to talk with and still thought her parents knew a few things. I’d heard warnings from other parents about the rebellious teen years.

“Let’s keep her at nine,” I said to my husband and we both laughed.

When I turned fifty, I expected to feel “over the hill”—as all the greeting cards promised. Instead, I felt in my prime—with a job I liked and a daughter in college. “I wish it could last,” I thought, knowing the answer.

Last May, my first husband died and I thought about us—all those years ago—standing on the deck admiring the trees. “There isn’t time,” he said and he was right.

Not only about the trees.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.