Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It Was Indeed a Matter of Time

A few weeks back, I was talking to my friend L, on her birthday. We've known each other for many years, since we were college students, living in the dorm, so we've been witness to many profound and formative moments in each others' lives. For her, it was a birthday with significant meaning, and she said that one phrase kept running through her mind: "There's so little time." And this made me think--and say, "But it wasn't always that way. There were times that seemed endless, as if they would last forever." And this made me remember the way summer days or nights felt when I was a girl, that time meant nothing at all. And it also made me remember the endlessness of time in a different way--summer days in my 20s, when I was directionless and lonely, and I wasn't sure how to make it through a entire and endless, empty day.
     I'm certainly not the first to write or think about the relativity and elasticity and sometimes-brevity of time. But that day, in that phone call with L, I felt it completely and intimately, and way down. As usual, context is everything, and in the context of our friendship, feelings run deep. We told each other stories--laughing and crying. Some of them felt like fairy tales.

I wonder how it would be if time were a mother instead of a father. What might she carry instead of a scythe?

7 comments:

Jody said...

I felt weepy reading this. I'm thinking one of the things grandchildren do for us is that, when we're with them and their splendid young innocence, time can again seem to stretch on wonderfully forever. So Mother Time might carry something relating to kids or life's beginnings rather that an implement to end the time of our lives...

Susan Messer said...

Oh, I like that thought a lot, Jody. So mother time might carry a baby, or a bundle of wheat (what do you call that bundle?), something generative, like Demeter? Maybe finger paints--something messy and creative.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully Mother Time's baggage would be more optimistic, since mothers carry life. My image of Mother Time is her carrying sustenance and a warm blanket.

I think there was always so little time, but we were thankfully innocent of this until the first person we cared for was cheated by time. At that point, but not at a particular age, time became relevant.

Newscasters talk about events, laws, happenings that can't possibly take place in my lifetime. I see my friends written about in obituaries more than on Face Book. I am one of under ten people left in my family.

But, on a more optimistic note, we've lived during a time when Steve Jobs changed the world and on a personal note, we saw Bob Seger last week, white- haired and 65, but we had a GREAT TIME.

Healthy Happy New Year to all!

rasirds@cox.net

Susan Messer said...

Thanks. Blankets and sustenance. And always important to keep things in perspective.

Jody said...

Finger paints, glue, glitter! Little strips of pre-cut tape - maybe a giant basket of "stuff" with which to create?

Susan Messer said...

or yarn for knitting or weaving . . .

By the way, I haven't even thought of finger paints for years. It's such a specifically child thing to do. So many years ago, but I can still remember that feeling and that freedom.

Anonymous said...

The Broadway version of SOUND OF MUSIC opens with Mary Martin sitting on a hill, singing "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things". I was 22 years old when my best friend and I went to NYC (ALONE!) and were offered $50 a ticket by people not lucky enough to have purchased in advance, in our case by writing a letter!

Listening to Ms. Martin sing those glorious lyrics is a moment I have not forgotten. When you're feeling low, listen to her. Rogers and Hammerstein were definitely more interested in those positive lyrics than the message of Father Time.

And you thought I listen only to Rock music!

rasirds@cox.net