Friday, August 8, 2014

TIME GOES BY, OR DOES IT?



Time is the ultimate mystery that I can never get my head around although it’s been a fascination as long as I can remember. Time goes by but then sometimes it goes by again. We swim in it unconsciously like fish in water and yet it is beyond understanding. Today is a soft, mellow sunny day but it brings many other times together like a double exposure. Standing outside I’m feeling sure that a particular late nineteenth century August day was just like this one. Hollyhocks, thick grass, a wooden fence and the soothing shade of a particular large Cottonwood. The sky is clear intense blue with no smoke or haze. I actually hear the sound of some very old motor car mixed with bird chirps from the willow next door. But, I was not alive then. It was my grandmother’s youth. The cats are following me around the yard. This is also brings in an old memory even though the cats are young, and one was born only a year ago. 

Next, I step into the living room through the door we leave open all summer and now I am at a house in Denver. It was a house I loved in an old neighborhood I loved and has special memories although some of them are traumatic and life altering. The neighborhood was both old and young. Old houses, streets lined with old trees but with lots of appeal to young people who liked the ambiance along with nearness of coffee shops, bookstores, restaurants and markets. Now that I’m flipping through layers, I land next in my childhood home around my eighteenth year. I’m reading Kierkegaard under our Transparent apple tree (the name of the variety not it’s condition, it was wonderfully tart and sweet for pie) while managing the irrigation water as it flows down rows of strawberry plants. I’m barefooted, with long dark hair and this is the only place in the world that feels in balance.  Joker, our black Lab, my only company is snoozing in the shade nearby.

I’ve always been able to time travel. Nevertheless, it doesn’t feel like I’m going anywhere. It’s much like a dream that can fade in and out.  Another way of describing it is layers of various densities. Sometimes I wonder if time isn’t an accumulation of layered worlds that can be selectively uncovered like sheets of paper. My current body or at least the one that is writing this has more or less attached to one of these layers, supposedly the top layer but now and then, other layers bleed through. The mystery is why a particular time chooses to bleed through what can only be an endless stack of possibilities. Who is it that   seeks a particular time/place. The database is beyond imagining and how is a particular file retrieved from eternity?

Painting is another field of strange time. When I finish a painting, it seems to have a life of its own and not only that it seems as if it has always existed. I mention this because supposedly a painting is the creation of the mind and hands. However, a living being such as a child or even a pet also has this quality of always having existed and this has nothing to do with being able to remember a time before their emergence into the present world. This is part of the fascination of living in anticipation of one day after another even if the order of days sometimes becomes scrambled.

The time issue and its limitations predictably bring up the topic of reincarnation. Could it be that our other selves actually exist on multiple dimensions that we conveniently explain by the time concept? I notice that the older I become the more translucent layers of time seem. Old people notoriously merge the past with the present and for that reason are often accused of losing their grip on reality. Very young children also don’t process time the way adults do. Could it be that the view of the greater encompassing reality is actually more realistic on the outer edges of a lifetime? Imagine a huge river. You can see both shore and water on each side but in the middle there is only water. Could time existence be something like this? Perhaps, those in the middle of the journey have lost their memory of where water joins land.

In recent months, I’ve noticed that I have to be very careful about visualizing a thing or situation. It often actualizes very quickly. Some of the big things probably hit obstructions and ricochet but small things happen quickly and laughably. I was reminded of this again yesterday. On the way home from the post office I said to PQ, “would you like a McDonald’s ice cream?”  He said, “sure,” and then added that today maybe a strawberry smoothie would be even better. This inspired my own fleeting vision of a chocolate dipped cone but I quickly nixed it.  When we arrived, I told the order taker to give us a small strawberry smoothie and a small vanilla cone.  When we picked our order up it was the strawberry smoothie and a large chocolate dipped cone.

George at rest.
  A more extreme example is George, the young cat that recently adopted us to mixed reviews from Shadow, last year’s feline addition. I remember browsing through cat websites after losing Joe and Missy. Then I got adventurous and visited hybrid cat websites. I wondered what it would be like to have an Ocicat, Savannah, Bengal (not the tiger), or Chausie but they are very expensive and after doing some research learned that ownership can be challenging. After living with George (previously called squeaky because of his odd chirp), I’ve come to the conclusion that he is a hybrid that someone found to be too much cat. I’ve since learned that this happens all too often with hybrids and they are abandoned to add their genes to the feral cat population.  He is extremely smart, highly charged, demanding, likes to play with water and is quite affectionate although pushy and boisterous. After taking note of his lanky body, big feet, slightly striped ears and longer hind legs it suddenly dawned on me that I had just manifested another fantasy. Perhaps the borders between time/space dimensions really are thinning.  Hopefully, there won’t be too many more surprising results.