various views of time

When Harry was teaching at a highschool in San Jose many years ago, he had a colleague who found it fun to scare his students with this sign on his desk, Time Passes; Will You? It scared me, too, and I have been afraid of it ever since. There is a perpetual test before me that is testing something, but I’m not quite sure what—-Patience? intelligence? Character? When I was a little girl expecting a treat, I used to say to my mother that I couldn’t wait. Then my mother would explain once again that there wasn’t anything else I could do, but now that I am much older I can recognize all that is accomplished is merely the next step. The corollary to all this is, of course, Will it ever be over?  Here the suggestion should be yes, and not too soon either. But our thinking is wrong again. What is over only applies to the steps down the pike and this is another one, that could be, though not necessarily is, worse than the last.

Well, we pause today at the threshold of a collision our many desires, and we look it over, and take note of it before the choreographer leads us to the next series of complicated steps in our dance, and what is past is memory. There is a quietness in the house today.I only have one job, and that is to go to triple A to buy fifty dollars worth of euros for Fiona’s birthday. Fouteen next week in Venice, where her mother spent her fourteenth birthday as well, and the story Betsy likes to tell about that has ben so well ingrained in the family narrative that there must be a pack of paying cards for her birthday, just as Betsy got playing cards for hers, and the story of her parents cupidity steps forward in time not yet lost.

Jim got home from work at eight. He never had to go on a call last night, so he is well rested and doing last minute computer work  since they have decided to go computer free for their trip. Betsy  finished grading her students this morning and has gone on campus for some last minute jobs; Fiona is in her last day of school before starting off tomorrow morning when they will leave their car with Grandpa John, change their luggage into his SUV for the ride to JFK.

By tomorrow night our time it will be night in Dusseldorf. Jack and his German parents will met the pane as it comes in, and with luck they will have managed to keep their luggage carry-on. How slowly the time has begun to pass for them. Will all this never end? When will all that finally begin? We once spent an ocean voyage on a freighter with an American missionary in Morocco returning home from a six month leave He told us that this long voyage was so much better for him and his family, that the distance on the ocean helped to dull the memory of  life back in Ohio and create room to welcome the desert and its people in their hearts again. I’m sure that Betsy and her family will not need quite such a long time to grow accustomed to the distance they will be traveling. I’m sure that Fiona will be asking if the ride would ever be over.

As for me I have thought briefly that is is over, but that doesn’t work out, I find. It is never over, as I repeat in my mind  events of my last visit, the last trip Harry and I took together to Florence. He was dressed in his raincoat and beret, and I was wearing some pants, something I never would have dared to do twenty years earlier. At Heathrow we had to walk a frightening distance to our next flight because THEY were doing  serious renovations there and we found ourselves helping an elderly couple floundering with heavy suitcases. In Rome we took the speed train to Florence, dropped off our bags and headed directly to the Basilica of Santa Croce with its green and white marble facade,tand its piazza where we had watched the  the non stop soccer game of the four Florentine quarters. All of a sudden things became the same. We saw what our eyes wanted to see, a couple of boys kicking a soccer ball around, pedestrians visiting the leather shops across from where we sat. And then up the grand chairs to the church, holding hands Kids were still sitting on the stairs, some resting with guide books in their hands, others looking lost, their clothes dirty, their hair atangle, gypsy mothers grabbing our arms. And then, at last, in the knave we look down the aisle between the pillars to the  spendid rose window with the deposition of Christ It is exactly as wonderful as we had expected as we walked slowly down toward the min altar with the frecoes by Giotto at the end. We are neither artists, nor are we religious,  and yet this scene has always rendered us inarticulate. And here I find myself using he second person as if Harry were standing here by my side. And perhaps he is.

I dedicate this blog to you Betsy and Jim, Fiona and Jack with love,as I wish you a great trip of discovery.

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About dorothybloom

Well, I'm a bit on the elderly side , but I'm fighting the decline with my entry into the virtual world. I've been thinking for while that my situation is worth talking a, and for this reason. There is a tension between old and new. The old are intent upon keeping their authority and the young are intent on getting it for themselves. hereThis tension is as old as the Neanderthal and many of his four-legged cousins. And I want to explore that.
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2 Responses to various views of time

  1. Patty Biggs says:

    Hi Dorothy,
    I will be in town next week & I will give you a call & maybe we can get together for a bit. I will miss Betsy & the rest of the family but I know they will have an fabulous time next week. I will catch them the next time I am in town.
    Patty

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