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Boreal Community Media

Kairos Time: An essay from local Cook County author and writer John Bragstad

Jun 07, 2023 11:27AM ● By Content Editor
Photo: Ante Hamersmit 

By local author and writer John Bragstad for Boreal Community Media - June 7, 2023


Have you gazed on naked grandeur  

where there’s nothing else to gaze on,  
Set pieces and drop-curtain scenes galore,  
Big mountains heaved to heaven,  
which the blinding sunsets blaze on,  
Black canyons where the  
rapids rip and roar? 
The Call of the Wild  
Robert Service 

Today was a perfect day in Minnesota, eighty degrees.
Retail stores were deserted. The cashier said people had
gone outside to play. People were enjoying the day.

This is kairos time.

In ancient Greece, kairos time was differentiated from
chronos time. Chronos is clock-time. It is living according
to where we should be. It is scheduled meetings,
appointments, tasks, and duties of living. It is feeling the
burden to “get there.”

Some people describe canoe trips in this way. Articles are 
written journaling one accomplishment moving towards
 another. Distances are logged. Fish are measured by 
weight. Campsites are given scores on a scale. Even 
freeze-dried meals can be an attempt to shorten cooking 
time. But to what end?

Adolescents often seem driven by clock time. They wait to
be twenty-one or eighteen or even sixteen. People put
their lives on hold until a retirement date comes around.
We set vacation breaks and hold on. We think about
where we want to be (getting ahead of ourselves) or are in
the habit of “killing time.”

Kairos has within it what the Bible describes as the
“fullness of time.” Things will happen when they are

Think about an apple. It falls when it is ripe, when all the
growth it can summon has reached its apex. Then it can
come down and is ready to be picked and eaten.

How is it defined? Time that is rich, and memorable. The
kind of moments we want to hold onto. Time that we
know is important.

It is time you have experienced. When you go in to
check on your two-year-old, you see your child breathing
softly, and you think to yourself, “How beautiful.” You stop
to wonder what they are dreaming about when their
mouth turns up ever so slightly with a soft smile.

Sometimes, with a parent or a friend, you think life can’t 
be much better than this. You want moments to last. 
These are times you think you might look back on and 
wish you had paid more attention to them.

People who have traveled in the canoe country can
think back to evenings spent meditatively on a rock,
watching the sun as it sets. Still, we remember the hush
of nights listening in our tents. Our senses still taste the
first blueberry of the season.

These are moments we savor and enjoy long after they
are gone. They remain in our memory, and many do not
lack the vibrant colors of our first experience.

One person remarked today: “How strange it is that we
long for the warmth of summer, and then when it arrives,
we sometimes wish it was gone. We don’t pay attention.
We don’t savor the moments we have.”

Albert Einstein once said that for some people, there are 
no miracles. (No moments where we walk in the fullness 
of time.) For others, he wrote, everything can be a miracle 
if we look with new and appreciative eyes. 

I wish you a summer of these moments when we stop to
appreciate the rare beauty of life. These are times we
want to extend and hold onto. Times that catch us

I wish you opportunities to stop and notice what 
surrounds you, even if you can step away only for
moments from the tyranny of clock time.

Whether in the pale light of morning or the firelight of a
soft summer evening, may you stop to notice and
appreciate what may be the fullness of time. This may be
when you look back and say, “This is as good as it could
ever get.” Life may have waited for you until this exact

Thoughts of summer will come flooding back as we
enjoy the gift of experiencing things many times over in
our memory. We will be warmed by such recollections far
into the winter months.

Then, we are no longer consumers, wasting time as if it
was a commodity to throw away.

Encore presentation from 
the book Compass Season

About the author

John A. Bragstad has been a therapist, working with couples and individuals, for 25 years. He is self-published and is enjoying retirement. Lake Superior is just off his front porch.

He has written three books: Compass Season, Loon Laughter at Midnight, and Who's Watching Whoo? They are available in Grand Marais at Drury Lane and Lake Superior Trading Post, or at

Related: Meet your Boreal Community Media Freelance Journalist: John Bragstad

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