When you are young you run with reckless abandon everywhere. There is always something new to see and experience. The world is so huge, and you have so much energy that you want to explode to spread yourself across everything. You are more energetic than the time that surrounds you. Time moves so slowly that you wonder if you are ever going to get to a point where you can do what you want, when you want to. It’s like you found a spring on a hot day, and you play in the spurting cool water of time. It isn’t enough water to satisfy you; to cool you completely. You just wish there was more time to allow you to be immersed.
You reach your twenties and thirties, and you have the energy to do those things and just enough experience to try to get the most for the energy you expend. Satisfaction from each new encounter provides positive feedback, sending you to the next one. You wade through a stream of time. The water pools and runs around your legs, pulling you lightly along, but you are still master of your travel. Time can tickle you, but your energy allows you to be in the moment, and time doesn’t sweep you past it before you let it.
Now you get older and your energy level begins to decrease more. This is a gradual decrease, so you don’t notice it at first. Life begins to pile things up on you. Now not everything can get done in a day, week, or year. Family, career, and me time cry for attention, but there isn’t enough energy left to buck time. Time begins to grow faster, picking you out of the calm part of the river and edging you towards the middle. You hear rapids approaching. Do you swim for shore? Do you try to find an eddy in time that you can float in to catch your breath? Do you try to shoot the rapids? Time is moving faster and faster, and soon you are ditching things overboard like goals and aspirations, bucket lists, people and places that are special to you just to keep afloat and not smashed upon the rocks of midlife crisis.
You make to retirement. You manage to ride the river to the ocean and the waves crash you in towards shore. You realize that time has won. It was always going to. Your acceptance of that allows you to just enjoy floating there, bobbing on each passing wave. It becomes fun again to frolic in time, but you know one day you’re going to be stranded on that beach at the end of life, out of time and energy. Time will still surge in and out, but your time to ride will be over.
The corpse of the barn lay upon the snow swept field, its sun bleached bones exposed to the elements. Carter shrugged off his backpack and gently sat down in the snow. He stared at the remains and wondered when the farmer had given up on the land upon which the barn sat, or had the farmer been committed back to the fertile soil and no one new had picked up the calling.
Carter pulled out his sketch pad and removed his gloves. He began drawing, using his snow pants encased legs as a cushioned desk. The cold wind attacked his fingers, causing them to both ache and become frustratingly numb. This made Carter smile. It helped him capture the barn in its death throes. Soon Carter had to admit that was as much as he could do in these conditions and he put away his picture. With one look around, he tried to capture the rest of scene for adding to his picture back in his warm studio. Mission accomplished, he began snow shoeing home. This physical workout had turned into a mental one as well, and that warmed Carter’s heart. Now just if his fingers would do the same.
I’ve been helping move friends of mine the past couple of days, and it reminds me of two important things.
The first is you can take it with you, but do you really want to? We have only so much space in our lives and living spaces for stuff. Some of us have a higher tolerance than others for what things need to stay, but we get ready to move every item is held in your hand with the same question poised, “Do we really need that?” So many of our things and memories are linked to what we have and where we are. We can afford to keep ten of X or have three extra Y. When we have to move our residence we realize what was folly, what was overindulgence, and what had just overstayed its welcome yet found a place in our space such as not to impinge too much. Moving shakes this paradigm and lets the chips fall where they may.
The second one is of spatial reasoning. It is always amazing how much more stuff can be stuffed into a smaller space as one uses their well honed Tetris skills in space time manipulation. You can take a 2000 square foot house and compact it into a 27 foot long trailer. This is amazing, but not as amazing as the time it takes to do all of it. What you think should only take a couple of hours takes most of a day. Part of that are the trips down memory lane with each new discovery from the previous point. It was nice helping someone else get ready since every time I have moved, except for the first time out of my parent’s house, was done under time duress. Every box we took out of the house took us one step closer, but at the same time the time eaten put more pressure on getting it because we had to be out the next day or two. My friends are under a time crunch, but not that hard, so it was nice to be more deliberate, but at the same time they have other stresses such as most of their stuff is now in a Tetris puzzle in a 27 foot trailer and the house they currently are living in is now an echo chamber for the last week of them living there. I’m sure time will seem to fly by, but also last forever as they eat on folding chairs and a card table.
As I contemplate my own move that will happen hopefully within the next year I wonder how me and my family will figure out solutions to these two things. I have ducked the problem by commuting for the past six years, but too many nights not coming home to the family has grown old. Taking a peek into what then future might hold grounds me and allows me to start thinking about the future. Still, first I need to create a test for Wednesday, so if you’ll excuse me, I must be moving on.
Tap. Tap. Tap. The chips of virgin white marble flew with each hit of the chisel from the hammer, littering the floor with inspiration. Morgan had spent seven days going over this particular block looking at what was hidden within. Seven days of laying on of hands, to get the feel of the rock. She spent hours upon hours looking at the block from every conceivable angle. Now she was obsessed with releasing the imprisoned statue held within the marble tomb. She tasted flecks of cold hard marble as she continued her work. The sound from her chisel and hammer gave her clues as to how she was doing with her excavation. The smell of her sweat mixed with the marble dust made her almost intoxicated.
Tap. Tap. Tap. The statue began to come to life. Morgan could feel it start to breathe with the life she was pouring out of her hands. It began to flex the muscles she carved into its limbs. The creator was working on the created, while the created worked on the creator; a circle of energy that kept building and building until…
Crack. A small imperfection of the marble block made itself known with the release of energy and sound pent up for millennia. Morgan stopped her hammer mid swing and let it drop of her deadened fingers. With a second crack it fell to the floor. The created life fled the lump of stone, leaving a petrified corpse behind. Morgan felt her creativity evaporate under the glare of the broken piece of art in front of her. She placed her chisel softly on her lips, as if to kiss the whole endeavor goodbye.
Morgan puckered her lips a bit, feeling the sharp end slice her lightly. The blood she tasted woke her out of her torpor. She picked up the flawed marble statue and gave it a bloody kiss. Where she had kissed the marble left a blood red “lipstick” mark. That made her smile. It was almost like a goodnight kiss on their first date. She would figure this piece out eventually. All good relationships just needed time. She left the marble behind on her table, the chisel laid beside. Tomorrow she would try again, but first she needed to take care of this bloody lip.
We home school our kids. When people find out, they occasionally point out reasons why that’s a bad idea. They worry about our kids being properly socialized. They worry that our kids will have holes in their education. They worry that our kids are getting out of some pieces of childhood that are integral to becoming functional adults.
My kids found out the true negative to being home schooled. They are currently learning at the dining room table while their public schooled compatriots enjoy a day off. Time for me to break out a bottle of wine and enjoy the misery.