Pause. Perceive time. Defined by ticking timers with bells at the end, clocks and calendars is one time. Linear, predictable and plodding. But time. My time. Our time. Is different. It rushes ahead, it slows to as thick slime over cobbles, it slides sideways, quickly, irreverently, without regard for wishes, dreams or clocks. Over the long covid spring, summer, fall, winter and early spring, time lurched and sputtered. Time lost themselves is a foggy reality of days that lost their names. There was too much, not enough of it. It was not manageable no matter the breath and depth of my schedules and calendars. There was no corralling it for me. I did not write my Lear. I did not read Proust. I read and digested a few poems. Very few, very short. I was anxious and scared. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps and grabbed onto a lot of outstretched hands. I wrote some. I dug two gardens. I pushed Julia’s interests and her future doings along bit by bit. Like Sisyphus. Didn’t he write emails and phone calls to agencies and people? A modern Zeus would have surely assigned him to tackle DDS, SS and DIB. Chasing genius ideas to the dead ends of realization—there should be a word for the feeling of frustration and failure when lots of energy has gone into a promising lead that is chased to an unsatisfying end.
The quality of time was a small ball of clay that could be removed from the greater river of time in which we all swim. We gathered via zoom with others but there was a sense of privacy—not cherished and beloved privacy but something like a hidden shame, even though there was no shame—we were visible in our small, regular zoom boxes with backgrounds of books that grew to be familiar and to a much lesser degree to the peopled world from noses up.
But it all became normal. It became what I was used to. What was acceptable. So much time in socially distanced and the neo-appropriate behavior.
And then, it all changed. Again.
It is the looking back and the observation that fascinates me. I remember during those tedious heart-breaking years of grieving David, that every so often, I would perceive a change, a step taken, it was not necessarily progress or healing, merely change.
And so, we are in the small steps of change again. We exit caves and blink at the sun. We stand at the edge of waves flirting with a beach. How daring three weeks ago when we went to the movies. Second doors at supermarkets opened and the aisles lost their 1-way designation. Outdoor concerts are planned although we haven’t been to one as of yet. Traffic much more and parking much harder. And then a prom and a graduation and then a last day of school. Last day ever of school. And our family’s regular and predictable calendar of time prepared for revolution.
And on the first day of a new 3-day holiday weekend, we travelled to Maryland. Julia is to be in an independent film, directed by a young woman, a dear friend, an almost-cousin, Sarah. This has been a long held, dear project for her and she is trusting that she and Julia can make a movie. There will be a host of other actors and crew with more specific tasks than I can name, musicians and carers. It is an incredible dare, such mighty risk. And it is a splendid opportunity. If it goes as hoped and planned, it will be splendid.
And so, I packed up clothes that Sarah and Julia picked out for Julia to wear. Many, many more clothes that I would pack for a two-week travel. And stuffed toys, art supplies, games and puzzles to both amuse Julia and to decorate the set. And her cello to play.
And we braved the road and traffic which was intense and tedious, making the journey far longer in hours than I anticipated. And I recalled over and over that we were going further away and for a longer time than we had gone in 15 months. And tedium took the place of incredulousness. Traveling too long and slowly and listening to a long story. Listening to directions.
And getting where we aimed to go was not incredible. It was expected, it was as we planned. And I think for a quick moment the transitions happening and to come may not be the dreaded walking on hot coals that I am expecting. Oh, it probably will be, but for a moment it is near glorious to indulge the fantasy.