I’ve had this image in my mind for days. You know when you were a kid when you’d get those cheap woven tubes as party favors–the ones where you put a finger in each end and pull and then your fingers were stuck. But if you pushed your fingers together then you could pull them out?
Those toys are on my mind because I keep imagining time like one of those tubes. I no longer feel as though time is a measured, even march of the clock hands. Rather, time tends to expand and contract given the various pressures on my life. For example, it still hasn’t sunk in that the holidays are done and over with. Christmas break just flew by, all of my goals and intentions fading in the swirl of busy-ness. Likewise, this month is one day after another of full ‘to-do’ lists, of places to be, of many social obligations.
But I am not complaining that time is flying too fast.
What I am saying is how hard it is to keep track of reality when things are busy. I feel a bit like my life is pulled between the two fingers of time, stretched thin. In that tension I tend to focus on what is most pressing, moving from one task to another, methodically meeting deadlines. Time going so fast that last month and yesterday seem equally distant–my mind having difficulty parsing time accurately. So say someone asks what I did last weekend, I’m likely to reply with what I did a month ago, not realizing the difference.
Even though I’m in the middle of a time warp, I continue blogging in fits and spurts. After some intense hours of academic writing or meetings or whatever, I spend a few moments spewing out a few thoughts on the page. It’s a bubble of space where time stands still. I am present. Just me and my keyboard. Not ever sure if it’s been an hour or a minute.
If a woman does not keep pace with her companions,
perhaps it is because she hears a different drummer.
Let her step to the music which she hears,
however measured or far away.
~ adapted from Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)