It's About Time


Summer has officially arrived and as the days start to stretch into night, it’s a great reminder of how time changes as well. Time. It’s one of those things that we cherish and at the same time take for granted. The sun will soon begin to set earlier and the arrival of night will end our day just a little faster but for now, it’s summer. Long days and lots of time to enjoy family, friends and South Carolina! The older we get the more we realize time waits for no one and we all wish we had more of it.  
With that being said, this Father’s Day weekend I experienced time standing still as if, for only a few minutes, time really didn’t matter.  It started with a question from my children, both now in their 20s when they asked their dad what he would like for Father’s Day. They chuckled when I said more time with my kids. “No really Dad, what would you like for Father’s Day?”  “How about a hike?,” I said seriously, although you couldn’t have convinced them of that.  After several phone calls it was set. We were going hiking, just the three of us, to Rainbow Falls at Jones Gap State Park.  Time was important as we prepared for our hike, things like what time to meet, and “words of wisdom” from Dad, like we need to be there early so we didn’t risk getting caught in an afternoon thunderstorm.  My suggestion to meet at 8:30 a.m. was met with shock: “8:30 a.m.?!” Yes, it’s all about time isn’t it?
I was anxious the night before, and excited to be with my kids. What time do I need to get up to be ready? How long will we be on the trail? What time do we need to be home? It’s all about time.  As 8:30 approached, I kept an eye on my watch. We don’t want to be late…right? It’s all about time.  We made it to the park just in time (I know I checked my watch), and off we went a Father’s Day hike to remember.  
The hike was amazing. As we walked alongside the Middle Saluda River to the sounds of rushing waters and birds singing from hemlocks, we took in all of nature’s wonders including blooming rhododendron and wild blue berries.  The hike was also filled with laughter, stops along the way to take pictures, talks of “old times” and fun times yet to come.  It was a chance for this dad to be a dad, telling stories and reminding them of the significance of Jones Gap, the Eastern Continental Divide and Solomon Jones. And they never even rolled their eyes (at least not while I was looking). During the four mile trek I didn’t look at my watch once, but time still had an influence on our experience. The hike was challenging and anticipation was building when finally the sounds of falling water became clear and the Rainbow Falls appeared.
As we crossed the creek filled with water that fell from the towering granite, the temperature suddenly dropped ten degrees as the walls of the surrounding mountains and the mist from the falls create their own climate. It is here where time stood still. My children took time to watch the falling water with no cares of time or tomorrow. I lost track of time as well, and it didn’t really matter. It wasn’t about time, it was about the moment.  Time was never mentioned until we got back to the parking lot and I said, “It’s time to go.” 
Summer’s here and it’s time to make some memories. Parks are unique to time. Historic sites often capture time and take us back to a time gone by, while traditional parks offer lessons in time management. Setting aside time to camp, hike or just visit the parks and planning the time you need to leave to get there on schedule. Then the most important lesson in time management occurs, that time is measured in moments not minutes.  It’s about time. Time to visit one of your state parks and watch time itself stand still, if only for a few hours. You won’t be disappointed. 


See you in the parks!


Phil