Guest Post: The Hourglass of Time

Thank you, Jolina Petersheim, for sharing your lovely writing. Through it, you challenge us to stop and consider our hand-printed legacy left in this world.


One o’clock in the morning and even in sleep my daughter hiccuped from the magnitude of her eleven o’clock cries. I nestled her closer – her feet pressing into my stomach like tiny hot stones, her dimpled hands clutching the straps of my nightgown – and re-positioned my elbow to accommodate her sweat-soaked head.

By the TV-like glow of the baby monitor on the nightstand, I glanced across the bed to my husband and saw that he was watching her, watching us.

My eyes filled with tears as he smiled with the relief that I felt, and as I leaned down to softly kiss our daughter, I again wished that for but a moment I could cup the sand slipping through the hourglass of time.

South Dakota moth

I suppose it is part of my poetic nature to yearn to capture the ephemeral in tangible form, so that when my daughter is grown and gone I can look back and recall the anchor of her head on my collarbone as she turned and huffed sleepy breath against my cheek; her widened hazel eyes as she toppled from her belly to her back for the first time; the aria of her soprano laughter as her father zoomed her around the kitchen, an overgrown hummingbird with a delighted grin and grasping hands.

But even before Adelaide’s birth, I have been mildly obsessed with the hourglass of time. That was why I kept diaries with gold-tipped pages and elfin locks and daily entries with numerical codes that I soon forgot how to crack, and then fat journals with spiral bindings that I filled with true stories that one day I hoped to turn – just like my role model Anne with an ‘e’ — into a book called Jolina of Coldstream; why I climbed onto the roof outside my lavender bedroom and wrote bad poetry in the rain because it just felt right. It is why I pounded the podium in front of my high school and said, “We must make memories!”

Now my journal has become this digital notebook where I reveal my life on the bounds of an HTML page, and throughout the week I try to capture the moments that I loved best: walking down our lane with the rays of the setting sun like a warm hand on my back; my skirt casting swishing shadows across the piebald lane; the straight white trunks of the birch against the backdrop of the summer washed green; the caw of the crows that dive bomb a screeching hawk that spreads its wings and hovers on a current of air so high I will never be able to breathe or touch.

I imagine when I am eighty I will still yearn to capture how light flits through a windowpane and covers my knotted, parchment-skinned hands in gentle watercolor light, and then – then I hope that I will use those hands to pick up a pen or shakily strike keys, so that when I am gone, someone will be able to see the beauty in this world that for but a moment I held before the grains slipped through my arthritic fingers and I too left the hourglass of life behind.

How do you also strive to capture the ephemeral in tangible form?


Thank you again, Jolina! You can find Jolina at her blog, The Happy Book Blog, or on Twitter.

Visit here to learn how you can submit a guest post.


9 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Hourglass of Time

  1. hmm..that’s so nice 🙂
    and as a mother..I totally understand Her feelings.. and not only..every time I watch my son, I kind of wish the same thing..I wish time would stop..or I wish some day I can turn back time and live these moments again…
    time goes by much quicker for us now..and soon my baby will grow up..and leave.. and I can’t think of the emptiness he will leave behind..
    very often now,in the past 3 -4 years I think about my parents,how they felt when me and my brother left home..and never went back..I mean..we both live in other countries.. and our what used to be ‘Home’ now kind of empty..

    • Thank you for reading and commenting! I can’t imagine what it’s like from the human parenting perspective, but I think of it now, with just us and our pups, and how it won’t always be like this… It’s sad yet beautiful to have the chance to appreciate it now. I think a great many people don’t realize it until it’s too late.

  2. Beautiful, Jolina. I remind myself many times everyday “remember this, remember this, remember this”. These days of getting to mother are so full of memories I’m scared to lose. I found the same peace in blogging about them. It feels like a picture album and home video sitting right there on my website. It’s nice to know that I can go back to those times and posts and catch a glimpse of some of the good I might forget.

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