"If I could save time in a bottle,
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away,
Just to spend them with you." -Jim Croce
I've been thinking a lot about time these days. Mostly because I never feel I have enough of it and partly because a very small voice inside of me says, "There must be a way to make more, or to at least use what you have wisely."
It seems entirely too cliché to even write about time, because lack of it is just about the most basic problem faced by humanity since...well, the beginning of Time! It's just a little, intangible, four-letter word, right? But it also happens to hold within itself the entirety of our lives - little or not.
And recently, whenever I say, "I don't have the time," a quote comes to mind. It's like a meddling stranger who keeps knocking at my door. Is he selling something...? Time in a bottle, perhaps? (Now, that's something I would be interested in buying.) But I don't answer the door. Instead, I stand by the window, just out of view, peering through the sheer curtains, waiting for him to go away. He just keeps knocking, and I begin to count the minutes it takes for him to finally give up and leave. It's as if time is irrelevant to him. Maybe he could knock for hours, I fear, or even days! Perhaps he is Time himself, I think in horror. Time, knocking at my door! And he doesn't stop; it's an infernal tap, tap, tap, like the incessant ticking of a much-too-loud clock in the dark of night - ticking away the minutes - a constant reminder that time is fleeting. Finally I can take it no longer. I throw open the door in anger, intending to scream, "Stop it!" But when I face him and glare into his eyes, he's emotionless (of course, Time has no feelings). Instead, he looks at me so calmly & deeply that I fear he must be able to see my soul. And then he speaks. "Time is a created thing." He says, slowly, with purpose, "To say 'I don't have time' is like saying 'I don't want to."
It's an ancient Lao-Tzu quote I've thought of probably a hundred times.
"But I DO want to!" I yell back with enough emotion for both of us. And all the things I loved doing before this little thing called Time became so scarce, come flooding back to my mind. I do want to make time for this blog, for writing, in general, for taking photos, for creating recipes and uniting them with the stories that make them so meaningful on so many different levels. Even if I'm the only one who reads them.
"Then do it." He replies, and is gone. And so here I am, writing at 5:30 in the morning, because it turns out there is a pocket of time just before the sun rises, that I'd been sleeping through. Who knew?!
As you might be able to tell from my absence here on the blog, the last few months have been so full, but in a somewhat meaningless way. I have recipes stacked up to share but no words to put with them. So there they sit, waiting for a day when Time stops buy to knock some sense into me. I suppose all bloggers go through such a lull.
Yesterday, after work, I was feeling particularly guilty about this space. I made a gin & tonic, and spiked it with a quick blackberry, lavender & vanilla syrup, when I got home. What does it have to do with Time, you ask? Absolutely, nothing. Except this: as I was sipping it, a friend called to chat and, just for that moment, time seemed to slow down a bit, it became friendlier somehow, more forgiving. And I was able to collect my thoughts. Funny how a good friend and a good drink can do that. So I thought I'd share the recipe with you, my friends, because if you've stuck with me this far, then really, you are a very good friend.
Blackberry, Lavender & Vanilla Gin and Tonic
for the blackberry syrup:
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup blackberries
1/2 tsp lavender
1/2 tsp vanilla
for the cocktail:
blackberries, for garnish
To make the syrup: Bring the sugar, water, blackberries and lavender to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Cook, stirring to dissolve the sugar, until the blackberries start to fall apart and the syrup is quite thick. Stir in the vanilla and strain through a fine mesh sieve. Cool.
To build the cocktail: Place ice and 3-4 blackberries in the bottom of a glass. Add 1/2 oz blackberry syrup. Top with 3 oz gin, then pour over 3 oz tonic water. Garnish with a slice of lemon.