About That Thing Called ‘Time’…

One thing at which Mrs. Newton and I marvel on a regular basis is the passage of time. Time just seems to fly by so fast that we can hardly believe that this thing happened last week, nor another thing last month, or a major thing even a year ago! Last year at this time, we were returning home from a most incredible trip to Scotland, an adventure that seems so fresh in my head that I can still smell the ocean air of Baile Mor, Iona’s main village. I still desperately want to say to my wife, “Let’s go walk to Saint Columba’s Bay,” as if walking to that isolated and majestic spot was even an option from our home in Arkansas. But Scotland’s holiest isle is several thousand miles and one really big ocean away from home. “Has it really been a year?” I ask her. “It’s crazy, right?” She replies. 

Our version of the Scotland trip this year was an RV journey to and through New Mexico, my adopted second home. We left on May 19th and returned home on June 5th. To think that next week will be two months since we left is ridiculously difficult to accept! It was an amazing trip in which we managed to compact a year’s worth of tourist sites and sunsets into only two weeks. 

Sometimes time moves very slowly. Last week, we were in western Kansas, visiting my father-in-law and Shannon’s family for the Fourth of July. We had a lot of down time, with feasts a plenty and board games and time to swing my nephew on the backyard swingset. And yet… time was slow enough to allow us to play two rounds of minigolf, visit the Sternburg Museum of Natural History, see the Swedish town of Lindsborg, and visit the Cosmosphere, perhaps the finest space museum outside of the Smithsonian. As is our custom, we visited the “Cathedral of the Plains” on our way home, a 100-year-old limestone basilica constructed in Victoria, KS, by German-Russian immigrants. It used the be the tallest building between Chicago and Denver, or something like that. Mrs. Newton and I enjoy going inside the ornate church and praying for our family. 

On our trip to New Mexico, we started collecting fabric patches and passport stamps at every major site, a hobby to which we seem strangely addicted. It’s as if we just found out that frozen custard is amazing and we choose our outings based on whether or not there will be custard there. Every place we go, we ask, “Do you have a fabric patch? For some odd reason, we’re collecting them.” I fear that our collecting hobby has gotten a bit too enthralling. At the tiny gift shop for the Cathedral in Kansas, I think Shannon asked the volunteer whether they had any fabric patches. Sadly, no. But they did have a few “Saint Christopher, Pray for Us” coins available…

Time is a funny thing, you know? Sometimes you can do so many things in one year that it hardly seems like only one rotation around the sun. Shannon and I have been married for over a year now and neither of us can believe it. Now, I know that one year for some couples must feel like an eternity, especially if they have faced difficulties and trials. Other people can hardly remember any particular year of their marriage. It’s all a blur for some and way too vivid for others. We Newtons can remember just about everything from our first year and, yet, it seems like we’re just newlyweds. (Are we? Say, when does that designation stop anyway?)

In our first year of marriage, we renovated one house, sold two houses, moved to another state over three trips, went on a long international trip, faced a major medical crisis, started new jobs, incorporated a nonprofit in a new state, joined a new church (with a new style), and ended our first year with another long trip. Meanwhile, there were plenty of doctors visits, day trips, and other assorted events. And, yet, that year few by! Shannon and I feel like we’ve lived three years of marriage in our first year and yet it moved by so quickly that we wonder where it went! I once asked her, “What do you think the second year will be like?” She laughed in disbelief.

We have collected over 20 patches from the past two months of travels. They come from museums, state parks, national parks, historic sites and the like. Today, I’m out and about on the search for a framed cork board to display the patches. I only have a little time to drive today with decent health, and I need to hit a few stores. I’m not sure if time is moving fast or slow today. At the end of the day I’ll look back and know for sure. How do you experience time? Are there moments in which time never seems to move and others when it moved so fast you wonder where it went? 

It’s such a mystery.