Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Hill Where They Abandoned Old Women

I've been thinking about a book that I want to write. I have the title: The Hill Where They Abandoned Old Women, and I know that it will be divided into four sections, one for each season. I know more, but I won't tell yet because it's too early, but it has me contemplating time.

I imagine time in a Victorian lady's traveling gown, green velvet, hair a ringleted mass crowned by a tiny hat with a large ostrich feather. She sits on a wooden bench at a depot, her back line-straight. She has booked passage, and she awaits her transportation demurely, smoke curling around her, dampness in the morning air.

Of course, time does not wait. She booked passage years ago, and she has been riding ever since, I suppose, but it never seems that way to me, and the very idea of time overwhelms me when I try to make sense of it.

Time is really the addition or subtraction of elements from our lives. In this moment, there is the scent of freshly brewed coffee in the air and the sound of the heater sighing its warm breath through the rooms. There is an absence of my son's capering adventures with imaginary heroes and villains because he is asleep still. As time passes, he will wake and there will be an absence of stillness and the addition of silliness, and I will know that time has passed.

If all remained the same, no aging, no births, no giggling or crying, we'd never note the passage of time; we'd sit stiff as boards there beside time at the depot, wishing for a game of I Spy to remedy our boredom, but there wouldn't be anything new to spy, and so we'd remain bored.

Time gets a bum rap, and so does age. Years and decades pass, filled with delight and with hardshipa, and then you reach a certain age when all that defined you slips away, your appearance, your job, your children, all of it, but I've listened to my grandmother tell stories about her grandmother, and I see that what is left is all of your time, given back like a Christmas gift to share with anyone who will sit still and share. All of your time is given back when you grow old, and the sharp edges are worn away like green glass on a beach, and your time is soft and smooth and lovely to behold

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A Mirror, A Summer, A Street by Autumn Crisp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.