My youngest walked with me into our front yard. She, a lover of beauty, gasped in her characteristic way, an approving sign of awe and adoration. Twilight’s swirl of magenta and blue was worth pulling myself from whatever Important Thing held my attention in the house. Standing under the sky’s declaration, I felt the weight of my dad’s words: Before it’s gone. 

I love a list. My to-do list gets its share of affection. It helps me. It makes me feel productive. But it whispers Later about moments that don’t last. Later is usually too late, a lie that I don’t discover until the moment is gone.

I live with noticers who summon me to join in as they pause for the deer, the turkey, the sky, the dewy spider web, the icicle, and the toad. They invite me to stop and look up from my list. The movement of nature doesn’t wait for later. While patient, neither do the quiet voices of the people who share my life. Their questions and stories, the evening moments for conversation, will eventually be gone.

My list, if I am honest with myself, has no voice. It can’t whisper Later. That comes from somewhere inside of me and only by ignoring that voice will I do what the fleeting moment calls for before it is gone.

How about you? How do you handle the voice that whispers Later?