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Can’t See To Can’t See

Rick Mansfield


In my youth, an oft used term was “working can’t see to can’t see.”  Meaning that one started before there was really enough daylight to do the tasks at hand and continued until one could no longer see.  A good example was the log-cutter that sharpened a saw by the parking lights of his truck awaiting enough daylight to safely begin felling trees.  Then later in the day, worked until after sunset doing chores on their farm.

In the opening of the iconic movie Gone with the Wind; there is a sundial upon which is written the Benjamin Franklin phrase “Do not squander time.  That is the stuff life is made of.”  A prophetic choice, given the coming demise of some distinct aspects of civilization—both good and bad.  Writers call it foreshadowing.

All elements of society have on occasion wasted time, to some degree or another.  Some more than others.  Another quote of the kite-flying Founding Father was “If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.”  Read extravagant and wasteful.  Later, Charles Darwin thought “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”

  Nestled somewhat between the two, Nathaniel Hawthorne professed “I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”  With these cool September mornings and sunny afternoons; his thoughts hit home.  Whether at work or play, it causes almost a physical pain to now be indoors.

Suckers are being caught on shoals, crappie above brush and as the sun dims behind our Ozark hills; white bass are hitting topwater.  Dove and deer archery seasons are just around the corner.  A short corner.  And battery lights are being remounted on river boats for the opening of gigging season.  Cover crops are ready to be planted in gardens; apples harvested soon for the making of that delightful butter.

We recently returned from time on the East Coast.  Specifically, Edisto Island off South Carolina.  We began each morning walking on the beach; sometimes with flashlights to check on turtle nests.  This, before the least bit of daylight.  Unfortunately, we never got to witness a “boil” where the newly hatched turtles dig up and out the sand by the dozens.

In the evenings, we would go to the other side of the island and watch the same sun set as it continued its daily travels.  And, as with the mornings, we gathered sea shells.  Lots of sea shells.  By the pocket, by the Ziploc bag.  Almost five gallons by the end of the week.  Some picked up just as darkness enveloped the coast; the beach and dunes alike.

The last evening on the island, we almost balked because of a rain forecast, but ventured forth.  Might have been the most striking of all.  Probably a life lesson there; something about wringing the most out of a day.  And out of a life.

We have so many hours each day, as long as we are here.  But, as with “vapors”; we are not guaranteed a future.  At least, not one on this earth.  Securing that “peace beyond understanding” is important.  Is everything.  So……………….

We need to enjoy our time here.  Spend each day fully.  Enjoying our world; getting closer to its Creator.  Inspiring others to do likewise.  We should remember each day we awake that “This is the day the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Maybe even from “can’t see to can’t see!”  Thanks for joining us!

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