Sunday, May 14, 2017

Where Did the Time Go - A Brigid Post

The morning was quiet, the phone silent, outside only the cool quietness of a Sunday morning.

It was Mother's Day, a  day of quiet reflection and of sorting through some old photographs that were just put quickly into a box for the move.  My mom and stepmom are both gone so it will be a quiet day with my husband and me sharing some stories and some memories.

As I talked with a friend yesterday, we discussed how we tell our stories because they are in us. Money and fame can be indicators as to the merits of our craft, but underneath it is simply the joy that is in the telling, and the recognition within us that to others, the stories are worthy of being told.

As I opened that box, I see one photo of my brother and I. I am wearing a dress. I do NOT look happy.  I have the same attitude about dresses to this day, though in the closet is a Celtic blue and white wedding gown in the best Renaissance maiden style, worn with love that is as strong today as then.

Further down in a pile, a photo of my parents. They look to be in their 40's. They are in cowboy gear, surrounded by others in cowboy gear.  They look like their very own Roy Rogers movie and given the empties on the table - the cowboy gang had not just whiskey, but beer for their horses

There are a few photos from my youth.  I look at them in wonderment, not even being aware at the time of that youth, or even of my face or form, it just being the vehicle to move me through my days.

There are photos of my daughter, of my granddaughters, of great nieces and nephews.  There's a photo of that dress, that wedding over three years ago, and seemed like yesterday.

Where did the time go?
Did I note as I left my early youth that the passage had begun?  Or did I simply float, detached from the earth, traveling solitary and swift through the skies, as if I were my own planet, the stars around me just distant distractions.

We do that, when we're young, casting off that which seeks to hold us earthbound, moving onward in that circular solitude that is the egocentricity of youth.  Once in a while we meet others like ourselves caught up in their own destinies, appearing as nothing more than a speck on the horizon then moving away.  We had our own futures, and they had theirs  We might join up in a brief flare of the sun that at the time seemed forever but in looking back we see it as brilliant and quick as a flash of the muzzle, as short as a fleeting dream.

Where did the time go?
I look at other pictures - those years purposefully alone, my life a landscape warmed by Autumn's sun but not enough where it stirs either heat or movement, lazy, brandied days of rest and exploration wrapped in a mantle of warm clouds. My shoulders are hunched from a load of hope and regret, but the eyes, even as they show tracings of laughter, are still bright, looking upward, not looking back to the past, seeing the future as an unlimited plain, even one walked with a sidearm.

To the floor falls the photo of an airplane; one with steam gauges and a sweep of wings unchanged since the Cold War.  So many hours in that craft where I did not find the true peace that is God until seven miles above the earth.  There would be days of the sublime sweetness that is a turbine engine's song, as we murmur to it, coaxing it higher with words as delicate as a lover's touch.  Then there are those days where God sends the messengers of our fate to us not in wrath against our presumptive push to heaven or the folly of man's invention but to warn our ignorant hearts that we are sometimes just along for the ride.
That airplane is probably now in the desert.  It's likely mothballed with a warthog and a tomcat or two, the desert air merely passing over it, as it's forgotten with a parting touch as light as an indulgent caress.

Where did the time go?

I look at another photo - of a form laying in the bed in their last days, having lived too long for the fire that's within them, but not nearly long enough. In those last days, we would not talk about that coming Death for it was already with us, interrupting us with its silence, taking up space between us as we attempted to draw close. Death would reveal the color and sound of its truth soon enough, even as we did our best to keep it from hogging the conversation.

On the dresser now - a small but heavy box within which is the weight of love and three cartridges that rang out over a military cemetery.  Each one is an embodiment of the truth that Death has to have the last word.

Where did the time go?
The rain having ceased, I went for a walk, looking slowly and carefully at others who are out enjoying the brief sun between storms.

There are the young teens, wearing unsuitable clothing as some badge of honor, ear buds in, enclosed in a world that includes only them.  Not yet chastened by the sudden discovery of the insignificance of their youth, they fly above anything of weight, and I smile, remembering too well those years, not wishing them back for any amount of gold.

There are the elderly-- wisps of hair made silver by time's brushstroke, eyes crunched and crinkled with much laughter and tears as salty as the sea.  They move with some difficulty as if the earth grabs onto their feet with each step; but they are moving, looking at something ahead that I cannot see.

There is one couple out, about my age, looking worried and stern, unhappy that their knees may hurt, or there's another door ding in the car, moving sad and still  Is it by choice some get this way as we reach middle age, seeing mortality up close, hearing the voices of the dead, wearied by our own thoughts which used to fly with the rapidity and vividness of dreams?
There is another couple, also about my age, as I've seen them as I moved in.  But their age is invisible as they whiz by me on their bicycles, laughing into the wind, daring time to catch up with them. They might have some sore muscles tonight and but there may be whiskey and beer for their horses, shared without regrets.

I might have 50 years left I might have 50 days.  I know how I want to live them.
My youth is behind me, and what is ahead is known only to God himself.  I can go through the day with awareness of that which can't be recaptured or I can snatch with a hand of courage, a moment from the remorseless rush of time.  I can hold in my hand the rescued fragments of life;  holding so tight I can feel the prick of its sharpness drawing a drop of warm blood as I breathe deeply this day. That will be my truth - that uncertain fate that binds us to one another, to the world.

Today is my time.  I will look at the future, and the end that awaits us all, not as a cry, but as a whisper from a great distance, heard not with fear but an encouragement to wrest everything of this day that I can.

Today, I will arrest within the space of a breath that time.

For it is mine.


1 comment:

Rev. Paul said...

A great attitude & a great expression of it. Well said, friend.