Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, Feb. 22

Taking time for giving thanks

Thanksgiving has come and passed swiftly. Perhaps part of the reason I missed it is that the Christmas decorations have been in all of the stores for weeks now, Christmas carols on the radio are already tiresome, and I’m beginning to wish the Grinch didn’t get a change of heart after all. I’d probably chip in and help him carry the whole load off at this point.

When I was a youngster my grandmother used to tell me that time passed a lot faster when one got older. The concept was confusing to me. After all, time was measured exactly the same for her as it was for me. Sixty seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to the hour, etc.

Okay, I’m not a kid anymore, and you know, sometimes time does seem to fly. When I am in town, running to meet this deadline, run that errand, get this package to the post office, there never seems to be enough time to make it through a day. Being forced to deal with a holiday months ahead of time certainly doesn’t help.

When I am at my home, however, time slows down. Like a lot of people on the reservation, I live without electricity or running water. I am no longer worried about deciding what to do tomorrow, next week, or next month. I live for the moment. If I put the bread dough by the woodstove, it will be ready to bake in two hours. Perhaps I’ll sit and read a book for awhile, or go for a walk with the dogs. Without intrusions such as commercials reminding me that I really do only have four more shopping weeks before Christmas, I don’t even have to deal with the stress.

My late husband used to tell me that he was taught not to plan too far into the future. His grandmother told him to take care of things as they happened, don’t worry about what will or will not happen. It was sometimes an aggravation, trying to talk to that man about the future. Plans for the addition to a room, or a new sheep shed, simply didn’t happen. But then one day I would come home and it was finished.

My grandmother would probably have told him that if you don’t plan for a future, you won’t have one. He would have found that thought ludicrous, and filed it in his “strange things I’ve learned about non-Navajos” file. Right there beside the “I wonder why my wife is compelled to bring home every rock she can carry?” and the “Why can’t she chop wood?” entries.

Perhaps part of the solution to the observation that time flies much too swiftly is indeed taking the time to slow down and appreciate life a little more. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Smiths and the Yazzies. Take time to enjoy one holiday before worrying about the next. Instead of stressing about what we need to buy for Christmas, take time to reflect on those things we should be thankful about. Including—time.

—S.J. Wilson

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