thyme in a bottle

“If I could save time in a bottle . . .” - Jim Croce

One morning, as I was puttering around my patio garden, observing the signs of the shifting seasons, I thought of the purple basil vinegar I’d bottled last autumn. “This year,” I contemplated, “perhaps, thyme.” 

In 1973, Jim Croce’s song, “Time in A Bottle”, captured my imagination as it did so many others'; and his sudden death in a plane crash affected me deeply, having received the news by what I supposed was a routine phone call from my brother. The singer was scheduled to perform at his college campus that evening, and my brother had tickets to attend. Perhaps it was my youth, or maybe it was the close proximity of the campus to our home, that made the brevity of life an inescapable truth.

Like Croce, I, too, have wanted to save time in a bottle—transitory moments that have filled my life with light and love; but I have learned as we all do, that there is no container for time. It can only be experienced and relished in its present state. I suppose that’s best though, for I suspect time seized would fade as fleetingly as these autumn days, its vibrancy replaced with a dull, arid emptiness.

So today, I’ll gather the thyme I can keep. I’ll place its green sprigs in a glass bottle, pairing it with some garlic gathered from my beloved farm; and as the days pass, I’ll watch it slowly steep, the white vinegar transforming into a pale, golden liquid. Finally, I’ll trim the bottle with scraps of fabric and lace, awaiting the moment I may share it with another. However, most importantly, I shall savor each step of the process, having been reminded by Croce, “that there never seems to be enough time, to do the things you want to do, once you find them.” 

Today, I'll make time.

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