Another Friday slips through our fingers, puddling in a pool of memories. Spring Break begins in a few hours. Time to sit in a window and meditate. Peace everyone.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains 90% post consumer recycled material
I can think of nowhere more peaceful than a window looking out at Lake Superior. No music. No television. No Internet. No electronic distractions buzzing through my brain, just an old fashioned book of dead trees, and the slow tick, tick, tick of the clock above the mantle, counting the time.
The slow inexorable drip of time. Like melting water falling from the eaves, it splashes around my feet, and puddles in pools of memories.
I have always felt the passage of time, and struggled with desperation to catch it in my hands, and hold it back. Just a little longer, another season, another year. Even as a kid I had the curse of melancholy and mourned it’s passage. Somehow I knew, once it was gone it could never come back. But things seemed so permanent then. When you are 10, or 15, it is hard to imagine the world looking, or being any different.
Each year had a number assigned to it, and seemed to take an eternity to pass. It is easy to place those memories. 4th Grade, Sister Annette, the year that my Big Bruddah was a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame. The year we drove out for parents weekend to see ND play Oregon. The year that Joe Montana and the green machine won the National Championship. 1977-78. Tagged, classified, and filed away in my memory.
But as we age, time speeds up. The increments we use to mark it get wider. High School, freshman year, walking to school in the mornings because a girl I knew who lived on State street also walked to school. Timing my departure to the minute so that when I reached the top of Prospect, she would be passing by on Richmond and we could have a “chance” encounter on our way to school. Hoping that time would slow down for the 5 block walk to ND to give me more time with her. Spring 1983.
Then time begins to change not only the season, but our location as well. Our memories begin to break free of the years, and attach themselves to a place. A winter night in Potsdam, walking home from the bars on Market Street. Crossing the bridge onto Fall Island alone. Walking out to the edge of the weir, standing above the rushing water as the snowflakes blew in through through the collar of my old Air Force wool overcoat. Listening for a siren’s call in the wind. Winter 1987? 88? 89? Winter in Potsdam.
And then the years are no longer named or numbered. The tether holding them fixed in time breaks loose. For a decade I measured them in terms of jobs. The 4 years on the road. Three and a half years at a small company in Plymouth. The interminable twelve years I have spent with my current Corporate overlords. A summer afternoon in Paris between meetings. Walking the streets, and riding the Metro, sweating in the sweltering July weather, when every sensible Parisian was away at the coast. What Company was that? What year?
And now the long, broad expanse of parenthood. Time stretches out like the prairie in front of me. I can ride for days, and it seems like I have hardly moved, but time is passing more quickly now. The kids are growing so fast. Already their toddler years are fading from my memory. They are already ten and eleven, and halfway to leaving home. We build a home around them, feed them in body, mind and spirit, and do our best to prepare them for what lies ahead. But it all blurs together. Sometimes I am sitting at my desk, in the fluorescent hum of my office, and I have to stop myself, and try to focus. What season is it? Is it Fall? Winter? or Spring? Think… I saw snow on my way to work, it was melting, it is Spring today, I am sure of it. Check the calender to confirm it.
The drips are closer now, and have become a stream. The sun beats down on the roof, and the snow is melting faster with each passing day. How long before the roof stands exposed in the bright heat of summer? How many more days, and nights, before the memories, like the melting snow, are all washed downriver to an ocean beyond our reckoning?