The Essence Of Timing


I admit it– I’ve been talking to trees again, specifically to the apricot tree in our back yard which is in full bud and ready to  flower. “But this is March,” I plead with it. “Don’t you know that the weather is uncertain? If there is a freeze, you’ve had it!”  But I plead in vain. As usual, the tree doesn’t listen to anything but its internal clock. Each year it blooms early and is blighted.

“There is a time and a tide in the affairs of man,” Shakespeare said, “when taken at the flood leads on to fortune.”  Copernicus might have benefited from the Bard’s advice—after all, he was nearly burned at the stake for intimating, that the earth revolved around the sun. On the other side of the scale, Columbus, who believed that the earth was round, timed it so that Isabella would listen to him—Spain was greedy for the riches of the East.

Timing really is everything, isn’t it?  The natural world relies on it so that Monarch butterflies, migrant birds, and the small sandpipers who brave ocean waves can live and prosper. We humans cope as best we can: the timing for the soufflé must be just right—or it falls flat; our drive home is hopefully timed exactly right, or gridlock results. In a business meeting an idea must be presented at the right moment and in the right context—or it will be ignored; the athlete knows full well that good or bad timing can win or lose the game; and who is better at timing than politicians who realize the importance of producing the right speech, projecting the right image, releasing the right soundbite?

In the writing or artistic world, timing is key, too. I once wrote a story that was thought to be too controversial and therefore taboo. I sold it a year later when the worldview had changed.  And what about the artist whose ideas and vision need rely not only on talent and luck but on timing? Rejected one day, art can be lionized the next depending on the mood or need of the moment.

Most important, though, is that sense of timing in our lives. How often have we heard of troubled young people who meet the right teacher or the right role model, or the kindest of adults at a critical moment? How many lives could succeed or fail because of that pivotal moment! Our son, a high school teacher, has had dozens of students return year after year to tell him what his teaching meant to them at an important  juncture in their lives.

Perhaps most importantly, there are the simple things. A letter written to a grieving friend, quiet support given at a difficult time, a sincere and unlooked for compliment… offered at the right time these can make all the difference. “I really needed that, it means so much,” I have often said when a thoughtful gesture helped to brighten a gloomy day, and haven’t we all been the recipient of some unlooked for  kindness that changed the tilt of our world?

Such small things… but today in this high-speed, technological world they may be more important than ever. Even though it is often construed to mean that we must seize the right moment for success, there are other, even more important victories. Isn’t our sensitivity and our thoughtful reaching out at just the right moment the very essence of Timing?

In that small gesture

Is confirmed the true meaning

Of being human.



About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: My blog is here: Or friend me on Facebook!

12 responses »

  1. Not only timing, but persistence. Christopher Columbus sat for seven long years doing Queen Isabella’s bidding while he waited for their war with the Moors to come to completion. It was finally when he was about to give up and was leaving town to join him cartographer brother that the Queen decided to give him her jewels to trade for the three ships. If you hadn’t persisted in trying to sell your story, it never would have been published. and your little apricot tree never is going to bare fruit, if it doesn’t persist in blooming every year.
    Thanks for another great post and a beautiful quilt.

  2. I was thinking much the same while walking a large dog you know past our peach tree. More interesting perhaps is the apple tree beside it that has yet to flower in nearly two decades.

  3. Dear Maureen,
    It is indeed wonderful when someone says words of encouragement, words of wisdom, or a simple compliment that will change your focus. As you say, change the tilt of your world. I have been blessed by many such timely messages that people have been kind enough to bestow on me. I try to empower others as much as I can.

    I admire you artistic talent and your wonderful view of our world. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

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