Monday, September 2, 2013

Time: the long and the short of it.


Today on what would have been the first of my 39 wedding anniversaries, (there are three every year as we married in Geneva at City Hall, in California church and civil and in Germany, church), I have a special thought for time and how it affects us.

Due to various upheavals in my life, I relate to memories of periods of time perhaps more knowingly than many.

Even if I don’t personally remember the event (and there are none of the older generation to remember it either – now that’s weird feeling), I was born in the state of Washington, USA.
At 9 months (again hearsay, but I have seen various documents over the years that lead me to believe that it is true) my parents and I moved to California – staying the first few months with my mother’s younger sister (my home was a cardboard box under the kitchen table – and then people wonder why I turned out the way I have!).

Of our first proper home, I remember only the dog tied to the cloth’s line outside the kitchen door and a vague memory of the living room. When I was 5 something we moved to the house I was to remember best – in Glendale at the foot of hills, which would later be covered with other housing developments: then it was just plain old hills, hills into which our cats regularly disappeared as there were many coyotes. Here we were neighbors with two other little girls, with whom we have kept in touch over the years. Imagine being able to say that you have known someone for 60 years and not have that person be a family member!

Just before I turned 14 we were off to a three-year adventure in Hawaii. Upon our return I landed in a boarding academy as my mother was sure that they weren’t going to be staying long where they were: she didn’t want to have me have to divide my last two years of high school into different places, but  - probably the more important factor – there was also no Algebra II at the high school near them. I loved boarding school, but when it came time to go to university, I chose the one nearer my parents (yes they had moved just three months later), so again a change and new friends. On the spur of the moment, and at the last minute, I decided to apply for a year abroad at the end of that first year. I was accepted and at 19 came to Europe for the first time: I loved it. Back in the USA for another year, I again returned to France for my senior year. Then back to the USA for a teaching credential and MA (unfinished as I didn’t think my subject for a thesis was valid  - although accepted – nor did I chose to do 3 more units of French when I already had too many). This bothered my mother the entire rest of her life, but didn’t have any impact on my life other than to lead me back to Europe when I couldn’t find a job teaching French.

So 40 years ago I met the man who was to become my husband. 13 years ago he passed away.

Where have the years gone? Such memories, yet all those memories just serve as a basis for who I became and who I am still becoming.

Now the days seem to fly faster (a trick that I wish I could slow down) and the hours are precious.  It was a shock to realize that this past June 3rd that my younger son had lived half his life without his father.

Our reference to time changes, not only with the passing of it, but also depending upon hundreds of other factors throughout the day. Is it sunny and warm? We might take time to walk in the park or along the lake, thus slowing the minutes.  Are we stuck in traffic and late to an important meeting? Time seems unending. Have we met with friends or family for a meal, party, special event? Time disappears in seconds.

A river that can never be stopped, but whose drops – every one – are precious!

Speaking of time: how long has the mountain below stood and watched life in its neighborhood? A lot longer than any of us will ever be alive. It puts things into perspective doesn’t it?

Mont Blanc in France