The fountain on campus has been turned off and drained.
I'm sure the forecast of snow had something (if not everything) to do with that, but that simple change screamed "Winter is coming!" more loudly than any of rest.
It also inspired a spark of regret. The fountain is my favorite spot on campus, and I didn't spend a single minute there this fall. I kept meaning to, but I was being productive, sticking to a schedule, moving on to the next thing....
...and the opportunity passed me by.
I don't know what it is about fountains, but they definitely draw me in. Fountains at the mall, the fountain on my own college campus more years ago than I care to admit -- there's just something peaceful about them. Maybe it comes from years of throwing pennies into the fountain at the Cherry Hill Mall as a kid and making a wish, or sitting beside the fountain at other malls as an adult when shopping became dropping, but taking a seat beside a fountain affords a respite. Time to relax, to focus on the water and the scenery.
To just be.
Perhaps that's another part of the twinge I felt walking by the empty, lifeless fountain. Even if the winter weather in the forecast comes and goes, bringing fall back in its wake, that time to "just be" is nowhere on the horizon.
Then again, is it ever, really?
Time to "just be" is time we have to carve out, time we have to make for ourselves. Whether it's sitting beside a fountain admiring the fall foliage or sitting on a sofa reading a good book, these times don't just happen unless we make them a priority. It's easy to point a finger at holidays, work responsibilities or just general busyness, blaming things outside ourselves, but those things don't reach out and steal our down time unless we let them.
|werner22brigitte via Pixabay|
...or I can carve out some time for me. I can't sit by the fountain again until spring, but I can take a step back, seeking rejuvenation instead of efficiency, if only for a few minutes.
Because once the fountain is turned off, the opportunity has passed. And there's nothing productive about a missed opportunity.