We extend out from ourselves like ripples in a pond from a drop of rain, a stone, but these ripples sometimes escape the shore, reaching beyond. Our existence is part and particle of a vastness that we only begin to comprehend, connected to each other in ways we may not always see or know. Drops of rain in the ocean, stars in the night sky, blades of grass and grains of sand. There are few absolutes, everything may be a matter of interpretation, it would seem to be the arrogance of mankind to assume otherwise.
Our beginnings are usually somewhere in the middle. Our days fall and pass in succession, numbered, orderly, named Thursday and January, while the actual unfolding of our lives is a different kind of linear.
We get out of bed each day in the present, unaware of the energy threads attached to us, emanating from us in all directions, connecting us to a past we think we know and experienced, that we imagine we remember, and a future we plan for, fret over, are often hopeful about and think we cannot see. A future the very existence of we dare not take for granted lest we tempt fate.
We move through the present attached to the past by family pictures hanging in the hallway, Grandma’s wedding rings hidden in the back of the bottom drawer of the dresser, old love letters, souvenirs and post cards from everywhere, a one eyed stuffed animal we’ve dragged with us since the Christmas we were three.
We are connected to the past by familiar smells, the sent of an ocean breeze, chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven, old plastic chairs and vinyl pools baking in the summer sun, by memories of songs, books, movies that we thought we had forgotten and forget that anyone else remembers. We are marked by the past, tagged with scars, branded by the places we have been, the names we have been known by and the names of those others we have known that we hear again now, reassigned to strangers and think to ourselves…Sam? I used to have a friend named Sam, when I was five…
We are threaded to the future by perpetual motion. Time marches on and we are compelled by the clock on the wall to march with it or against it, race it. None of which affects the ticking one bit. If we stop, the clock keeps moving. If we forget to change the battery, there’s another clock somewhere. Some of us set our watches ten minutes ahead in an effort to avoid tardiness, to try to “buy” time as it were. We are attached to the future with the plans we make, birthdays, weddings, impending childbirth, children, holidays, closing dates…By affirmations to do the laundry tomorrow, yard work on Saturday, appointments with the dentist, doctor, the appliance repair man and all other services scheduled to occur within a four hour window. Our calendars fill up with where we will be and when, in the future.
Perhaps we are rooted in the present by nothing more than our idea that we are, by nothing more than our physical gravity, as our mind easily arcs, from where we were ten years ago to where we are scheduled to be three weeks from now. We call to book a flight that leaves in a month for a sandy beach that we can almost feel between our toes right now, the phone answered by a woman named Sherry, the same name of a best friend from grade school, suddenly we are five again, making dirt cupcakes in our mother’s garden and we can still taste a little bit of a dirt bite, taken on a dare.
There are those individuals hurling themselves through each day like meteors, streaking across the sky, without much sentimentality, seemingly…perhaps…without much thought for the morrow, moving, moving, moving. But time catches up with them too, meteors burn out or cool, hit the Earth or continue into space as rocks, none of us, it would appear, is completely immune to the transformations of time.
Extreme circumstances attempt to force us to be here now in order to survive …and being there or here, now, sometimes what saves us is a memory of something good.
Time is pliable.
Right this second is ethereal, spider webs on the breeze…touch one and it sticks but it is just as gone. Most of us are daily time travelers. Our stories linear and layered, straight lines, loops, perfect circles, quilts of memories, each piece fused to the piece next to it by our perceptions, faded and worn around the edges. Beginning then is somewhere in the middle, wherever we are now…a now that is continually disappearing into the past.
We are here.
And we are already gone.