Tag Archives: Time
Week 3 Day 4
There once was a boy who lived near a well. The well was very deep and narrow and every day he would fill a pail from its depths. One morning, the sun was just right, tree leaves rustled just so and all the birds sang the most piping of tunes, leaving the boy enchanted.
As he did every morning, he set the pail on the lip of the well. The rope for lowering buckets dangled just out of reach. Stretching on tip toe, he snatched at it. But his extended body knocked the pail over the edge. With a quick grab, the boy too was drawn into the well’s pit.
He fell, the decent lasting an eternity. Finally, land he did and quickly all became black. When he woke, the sun above was gone leaving only moon glow to outline the opening so very far, far above. He called but no one answered. No bones were broken, just cuts and scrapes. He tried climbing but the walls were slick with moss and bulbous mushrooms. The boy took stock of his situation. He was knee deep in water with little to eat. On the plus side, a small pile of fallen leaves poked above the waterline in the middle of the well’s pool. Being the only dry spot, the boy sat down to wait.
The next morning, a bucket descended. With great joy the boy cried out. Unfortunately, the echo along the well’s long walls transformed his cries into a demon’s wail. The woman drawing water heard a terrible keening and ran screaming.
“The well! The well is haunted! A demon lives in the well!”
The boy’s family believed that he had run away. For the day before when they called down the well, there was no response. Unconscious at the time, the boy never heard them. When news reached them of a well demon, they knew then that their son had not run away but had been devoured by an evil water spirit. The village, not very sophisticated but very superstitious, declared the well haunted and no one was allowed near it.
After a few days without water drawn, the boy realized he was forgotten. This would frighten most little boys. But this was a young man of resource. With no rescue forthcoming, he cried, only once, because scared little boys need to cry. Better to be done with it.
After wiping tears, he looked around. His stomach told him he was hungry. There were no fish only frogs whose songs kept him awake at night. Not quick enough to catch one, only moss and mushrooms were a possibility. The walls grew all the way to the top with both. Mushrooms could be poisonous. He tried the moss. His first taste was horrid but it did stay down. So he tried again. The next bite was every bit as bad. With time the boy became use to it. With time, he also tried the mushrooms to vary his diet.
He was never poisoned.
So began a new life at the bottom of the well. The boy marked time watching the leaves fall from above into little piles that he shoved to the middle to increase his perch. Day after day, the boy notched each new elevation on the side of the well.
Days, months and finally years passed as the boy became a young man. With each passing day, his love of solitude grew. Family and friends he missed but there was an appreciable beauty in time as it flowed over him. Everything occurred moment by moment or all in a single instant, time itself became meaningless. That is until one morning when the young man woke to see his pile of leaves grown to such a height that he could now touch the top of the well. He had lived more life in the well than out, the thought of leaving terrified him. Would the people of the village know him? Would his family still love him? Finally, he could no longer wait. He had to get back to his life – to his time. He reached up and grasped the top of the well warmed by the sun.
Poking his head out, he saw no one. Because it was assumed a demon lived in the well, everyone in the village, including his family had left long ago. The boy who was now a man walked through what once were familiar surroundings. Everything seemed smaller, not the same. He found his house and it too felt different, as if his memories were someone else’s. Wandering back to the well he found a large frog waiting for him.
“Nothing is the same?” the frog asked.
“You never talked before,” responded the young man.
“You never asked. Listen. You will never be what you once were. People from the past will miss that most, the old you. Now, you must find your life and stop letting this well suck dry any more of it.”
The young man listened intently to the frog.
“That is sagely advice. The boy I was is gone. The man I am to be, I must find.”
“A sagely response,” and with that the frog hopped back down the well.
Time? What is it? Does it flow around us, a mysterious, murky liquid of a concept? Does it flow at all, a constant current of life’s demarcation? Or, is it a perception necessary to organize the insanity of our daily existence? I have no idea. I do ask the question and ponder the possibilities.
Concretized time ticks away somewhere in Greenwich, UK. That is the standard, like gold. Yet, as we evolve in our views of the universe, standards melt away and truth becomes the malleable wax image covered in clay used to create the mold of an object far more enduring.
Time, if viewed as a treadmill, is it the actual machine or the poor schmuck who runs but goes nowhere? That is how I feel, my life prior to 1989 a puzzle whose pieces have been tossed in the air and let to fall in a jumble on the ground. Can time stand still? Can it stagnate? Does it move at differing paces?
Set two Timex watches for the exact same time. Attach one to the wrist of a man sitting in Manhattan. Attach the other to an Astronaut voyaging the cosmos at light speed. Let two hours pass on the watch of the astronaut and the Manhattanite has been dust for more than a century. Time then is a relative term used to describe the micro. The concept can never encompass the macro.
So, time, I spin verbiage on this topic like a sixteen year old boy in a muscle car on a snowy day. The wheels turn at high RPMs with little forward momentum. Time exists for each of us as a tool to map a day, an hour or a moment, but can it be sliced and diced exactly the same for each individual? No.
I have existed where all moments of time bisect one another, existing as one yet spread out across eternity. My understanding of time is personal, dissimilar to any other individual’s experience. So, why these ramblings on Time?
After twenty years of dreaming, why does Oliver never age? Answer me that.
Why do we worry about the mundane? What is this interest in some starlet’s revealing gown or the fact that a more than beautiful actor and far too gorgeous actress are splitting up after 3 months? I certainly will never know any of these people so why care? As you might guess, I spent too much time last night surfing the web. All the news that should not find its way to print.
The rest of the evening was spent meditating. Not the religious experience all folded up into the lotus position, but contemplation. I sit in my “man” chair in my office, steeple my fingers and let my mind drift. My twilight vigil brewed up reminiscences of the desert. My desert, actually. I have gone back many times to where I first appeared. Looking for clues only to find brush and heat.
My friend once suggested I do a Vision Quest. Skepticism must have radiated from me because he just laughed.
“Man, I’m not a Shaman or any crap like that. You’re so intense looking for your answers. Might help just sitting out there all night.”
And so I did. Drove out in the afternoon as the sun cooled. Took a tarp and two large jugs of water and sat. The sand crunched under my butt every time I moved. Buzzards circled in the distance as the sun fell below the far mountains. Cold. You don’t know cold till you’ve felt the chill of a desert’s night. Stars. What we can’t see in the northeast is astounding. Millions and millions of pin spots yet with all that light, the darkness descends like a blanket of dry oil.
I waited there with my tarp strung from car to ground. Waiting for what, I had no idea. The heavens to open up and Morgan Freeman announcing who I was with full instructions on how to get my old life back.
That didn’t happen. Time … that is what happened. A couple of hours would pass. Then I’d look at my watch to see it had only been 5 minutes not hours. You have to give in to time to completely experience it. I took my watch off and threw it as hard as I could. It landed in some bush with a rustle and a thump. Then I was swallowed up by the intense quiet again. I didn’t sleep but entered a state of meditative slumber. Thoughts were like liquid turned to gas, sieving through my brain. And finally, that too ceased.
For a brief moment, I existed without thought just the up and down motion of breath as the sun crested the mountains behind me. And then without noticing, ten hours had passed. I had no idea what happened during that time. It was like anesthesia. The doctor makes the injection. You say something you think is funny and brave and the next moment you wake up in recovery. I had thrown my watch into the bushes and then, a nighttime later, it was time to leave.
Answers, I did not receive. Clarity, in concept maybe. Time moves in curious circles we refuse to notice and hardly comprehend. It is easier, I suppose, to care about how high a skirt slit is rather than the turning of the universal clock that marches to the orders of Morgan Freeman’s voice.