Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t working on our bucket lists as much as we’re dealing with our lists of what the world plans to throw at us today.
I for one am a slave to the to-do list. It’s my only hope of staying halfway organized and focused. But rare times come when you find yourself rising for a moment above the daily din. It’s a half-moment of tranquility and perhaps even reflection.
This is when we are most vulnerable. Danger abounds. The mind wanders, speculates and hopes. We feel the yearning for something transcendent, some far from the daily din and to-do list.
Just then – kismet – the TV flashes a stunning image of the Grand Canyon.
That’s it, of course. You’re doomed. I must see the Grand Canyon just one more time, you say. One more glorious time before I die, that is, kick the bucket.
But how? Drive to the South Rim, snap some photos and call it good? Ride down into the canyon on one of those poor little mules? Raft down the Colorado at the very bottom, risking life and limb?
Then you realize that even a bucket list – with its appeal of the wild and the extreme – has to be tempered with reason, judgment and, worst of all, planning. It starts to feel like real life, and who wants more of that?
The summer solstice ever so briefly came and went this week. It felt as if I should do something. Raise a glass. Stare at the sun. Something. But inasmuch as I’m not a druid and Stonehenge is not on my bucket list, I just experienced it as another Wednesday.
The solstice does bring a touch of melancholy, however. Even heading into the teeth of another summer, the days steadily shorten. It feels as if something is slipping away. By the time the winter solstice arrives, we have to remind ourselves that, sure enough, the days lengthen and brighten.
But this year there really is a bucket-list event, the big eclipse. A total eclipse of the sun is coming on the afternoon of Aug. 21. I am taking the day off and getting out a lawn chair.
That’s it. That’s about as far as my aspirations go, but I plan to enjoy the day. That’s something.
I’d like to catch, and eat, a salmon in Scotland. I need to see the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., a few more times. I hear that long train ride across Canada is just awesome. How could it not be?
But in the meantime we struggle with chores, bills and deadlines. It’s hard enough to find time with a good book. We plan for better days, but in the meantime we hunker down and work.
– Jeff Fox is on Twitter at @FoxEJC.