Shortening Days

Elaine Knudtson

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ps. 90:12

Why don’t we recognize precious moments when they happen?

Is it because the best memories emerge when the ordinary meets the unexpected?

Or is it because the big events are engineered, but the idyllic moments are gifted.

20180905_095504The light is dimming in the prairie sky.

Days are shorter.

The sun, while still warm, is competing with cooler breezes from the north.

The day begins with heavy sweaters, followed by shorts and sunglasses, and ending under a warm blanket on the back patio.

20180731_105442Weeks ago it was too hot.

I looked for cooler air inside public spaces or by the water.

The sun stung my eyes and made it hard to sleep.

Early light invited birds to sing along with chirping crickets.

Neighbourhood dogs howled in response to nature’s symphony.

I covered my ears, pulled on the blinds and tried to sleep.

20180907_101030Now it’s gone.

The sun no longer conducts the song birds’ chorus.

There’s no need to pull the shades.

Darkness is creeping into the day, making it shorter.

I like heat!

Bring back the light!

I’ll join the birds!

I like pulling weeds!

Who needs sleep!

Please don’t take away my summer.

Ignore my ungrateful response to those golden moments I long for all year.

Will I look back on this moment in the twilight years and scold myself for chasing away today?

I long for upcoming events and ignore the precious now.

Forgive me Lord.

Teach me to number my days with gratitude, praise and contemplation.


“Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. . . But now, Lord, what do I look for?  My hope is in you.” Ps. 39

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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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