The afternoon sun is hot on the boathouse roof. I lie down for a nap with my son and can almost feel the heat penetrating the shingles. There is little wind and a haze over the lake muffles the sounds – all but for the lazy call of a Phoebe.
I love these hot summer days when time seems to drip, slowly, in rhythm to the waves lapping at the dock.
I have asked our columnists to write about time – the most valuable thing we have. I wonder how each writer will tackle it? I suggested they might write about what they would do if they only had a day to live.
My day would be spent selfishly with my family – making love with my husband and playing with my children. I’d want their last memories of me to be warm and loving.
But when I think of time I think of how quickly it passes, and how much there is to do. I want to contribute to society – but how will I make the world a better place? There are powerful people who can change the course of history and I hope this newspaper can influence them to do the right things. But that’s a lot to hope for.
Conrad Black, once one of the most powerful men in Canada, is now facing a battle with time. I’m not part of the bandwagon of media people kicking him while he’s down. He’s had a history of creative business schemes that made auditors, bankers, and investors spin in confusion. And those who chose to invest in his companies had to know his history, but chose to back him despite it, because he had a reputation of making money. They took a chance, some lost, but a lot of people gained. That’s part of investing in a company with such a larger-than-life leader. He was able to create a second national daily newspaper in Canada, he took risks, and he led with a flare that very few business leaders dare to possess anymore.
I am sad that he was found guilty of fraud. Sad because he was once a hero to a lot of Canadians – he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for demonstrating outstanding level of talent and service to Canadians – and sad because he is a man who is extremely bright. There is something unsettling about locking up a brilliant mind.
It takes wisdom to manage time well. I know that Black will do everything he can to avoid jail. But they’ll never be able to lock up his brain and with the technology available today, much of what he does now will still be possible. He may end up being the first man in history to start and run an international company from a jail cell.
A few weeks ago I worked on a crossword with some help from Lord Black. It was before the outcome of his trial was announced, while he was waiting for the verdict. He had one of the largest vocabularies I know of and sent me some of his best words. I filled in the rest and the crossword in the previous issue is the result. It is titled “Lord Black’s Revenge” and is still available on our website. The more I think on it, the more I wonder what his next move will be. He is not a man to go out quietly like some corporate middle manager. As long as he is breathing Conrad Black is a man to watch, and only time will tell what’s in store for him.
The waves knock the boats against the dock, their rhythm seems endless. The heat pressing down on the surface of the lake makes it seem like oil rocking back and forth. I watch my younger son sleep. His tiny hand opens and closes as he waves in a dream. I wonder who he waves to and imagine one of his grandfathers visiting him. Neither of them lived long enough to meet my sons. Their time ran out, but they both passed on the importance of making the most of each and every moment. They knew the true value of time.