Binghamton NY, the town I grew up in, sits at the juncture of two rivers – the Chenango and the Susquehannah. There is something about the coming together of two rivers. Each with their own history, each passing through different towns, running behind different homes, leaving their imprint on different lives. And then joining together, forcefully blending all that they know, all that they have seen, everything they have touched.
I’ve been here in Binghamton for the last 26 hours or so, the longest time I’ve spent here in many years. My wife and I are dropping our oldest off at college. There are some new roadways, a few new intersections. Many of the old places have closed their doors, while others remain. But the truth is the town hasn’t changed much. And so much of it speaks of my past. This happened at that street corner, that soccer field where I played high school ball, there the home of an old and dear friend, a short cut I used a thousand times, the actual home I grew up in. That is one river, the river of the past, of where we’ve come from, of how we are shaped by the experiences we had, even when young, perhaps especially when young.
Then there is the other river, connected, joining at times with the river of the past – and that is the river of time. The most powerful river of all – its water churning, rushing along, moving and moving and moving, inexorable. We are always in this river, but we feel it the most when we watch our children grow, reach new milestones, suddenly change from children to teenagers, from teens to young adults. Then the river rushes along, its roaring in our ears, pulling us, pushing us, reminding us of where we are in our own lives, of the number of summers that we’ve seen, the hopes and dreams we have lived and sometimes lost.
Time stops for no man, is the old saying. And King Solomon wrote in the Book of Ecclesiastes long ago “for everything there is a season.” Both are true. Only sometimes we know it more than others.