Time, I believe, is much more relative than we think.
Moments can stretch, cling, expand until that one Moment looms in our memory, inescapably so.
Sometimes days are like rushing water, each one flowing into the other until they are inseparably bound and the past, your past, is a series of indistinct impressions and intermingled sound.
I believe that art – that music, dance, drawing, sculpting, painting, writing, all these things – is the only way to mark the passage of time – time in the world, and time in our lives. I looked through my old files today, and came across a piece I wrote on 12/10/2011. It’s a tiny piece of a story I was writing at the time, a little tiny memoir story, of the night my father and I watched the eclipse.
“Sure is amazing though.” I say, following him in and locking the door behind me. I take off my load of outside clothes and pause at the window. The moon looks at me, half hidden in the veil of something darker than night. Saturn appears to wink at me as it flickers through the branches of the winter-skeletal maple tree. I notice I am not hiccupping anymore, and I know that sliver of time with nothing but years and space between me and the moon was enough. The taste of universe was sufficient to calm my cold familiarity with earthly things. I crunch a handful of popcorn and look absently at the way the flickering lights of the fireplace dance against the walls, and I wonder what happens to the light that goes out through the windows and does not hit anything but goes on forever. I stand near the wall and see my shadow, I stand in front of the window and I am gone. For a moment I feel myself flicker, not entirely here or gone; like the moon I exist in two worlds, here and so far away as to be make believe. Voices rise from the kitchen in dispute. The breath of the incomprehensible has vanished, now I am of the earth and the moon is of the mystery that is heaven. I glance once more at the veiled glow of the winter-white moon. The face of the man in the moon is covered in deep darkness, but his silvery heart glimmers through. I turn and go into the rest of the house, the last of the salty popcorn tingling on my tongue.
I don’t think it’s horrendous – personal bias poking it’s indecent little face out. It almost comes close to what I meant to say, it’s sort of there – but it’s also so far from perfect that I hesitated showing it to you.
I then pulled up my Nano novel from this year, finished 11/30/2012.
Dimly she was aware of her fingers and her bow arm, but they alone remained, all else was washed in an unbearable light like nothing Penny had ever known. Her own sins, her own shame were utterly removed, and somehow the music became everything – life, breath, being. She felt the melody change, no longer a song of passing but of something new.
A high, thin ribbon through it like sun on tree leaves, the essence of sap and air running through the bark and veins deep in the wood. The notes were a thread of otherworldly power, weaving in and out through the sprightly line above and weaving together a tapestry of new beginnings, the sense of something becoming.
Below the high notes something deep and firm rang out, something that beckoned. The harmony called out, told Penny all was well, all would be well, no mourning, no sorrow. The notes built, faster, melody and harmony becoming a single wondrous unity of song and summoning. Even her fingers and the violin itself had disappeared, the music was everything and it was something far, far beyond Penny.
As swiftly as it had begun it passed, departed from her with a leap of the bow and a flourish of her fingers. Penny’s eyes flew open as she stumbled back against the wall, overcome. She felt whole in a way she had not – ever. She would have never known such a completeness, a sense of being washed clean, was possible, wouldn’t have even known she felt unclean or broken, if she had not been feeling something entirely different now.
Then she became aware of the scene before her. The Lady Rivah was not dead.
Lady Rivah’s wide eyes were fixed on her as her hand pressed firmly above her chest. There was no wound. There was no blood.
It was as though nothing had ever happened.
It’s strange, indeed, how the same theme, in essence, is running through both pieces – that of something larger, something beyond – but the ideas are expressed so differently. I still think my writing needs massive amounts of work (please, please remember this is my Nano – not one whit of editing involved!) but there’s also growth there, an ability to express ideas and a manner of expressing them that wasn’t present a year ago.
Mark the passage of time. You’ll be amazed by what you find.