I’ve been having dreams lately of time passing. The other night I dreamt I was in my parents’ kitchen. I saw that the date was 2/2/2016. I wheeled around in my seat and demanded “Did YOU know it was February?!!!” They did not. At least we were all experiencing this loss together.
I know this is a thing that happens. I’ve heard tell of it my whole life. I remember as a child my parents would tell a story and someone would ask “when did that happen?” and they would answer “ten years ago.” I would shake my head and say: “No. It happened before I was born.” My parents would stop and think and nod their heads in reluctance and then admit “You’re right. It was twenty…twenty-five years ago.” I couldn’t understand that then. How could you misconstrue twenty years for ten? How could you mistake such swaths of existence? It was easier when I’d only been alive for one decade or two. Now I find myself making the same mistakes. People say “such and such happened twenty years ago” and in my head I imagine the 70s. But twenty years ago was 1995. I was 15. This leaves me speechless, and sad, and finally understanding my parents.
I wonder to myself if time is speeding up because I’ve been in one place for so long. My used-to-be-goals of each year -of where I would be, and how I would live, and what I would do in this new place or that- have morphed into long, slow, old-growth goals. The kind of goals you have when you no longer move around or live out of your suitcase. The kind of growth trees evidence in their rings. Some years are big years. Other years, it seems, nothing has happened, unless you look real close.
I can envision this place five seasons from now. The Magnolia tree will have filled in, the Ash will have begun crowding out the London Planetree. We’ll be harvesting the Serviceberries. The Jerusalem Artichokes will finally establish in the hillside. We’ll have finished two more albums. The porches will be done. The bathtub installed. Will we have children? I hope. Such domestic goals. Part of me is embarrassed by them. The other part, relieved.
You create your goals and your dreams and you align your ship with those stars. Sometimes along the way you are taken off course, and that can be a good thing. Sometimes life is smarter than we are. (Most of the time it is). You use the wind to your advantage. You allow it to take you places you did not anticipate. You try to avoid running aground. Sometimes you don’t end up where you anticipated. Sometimes you arrive there more quickly than you thought. And sometimes you think it’s only been a few months that you’ve been out to sea, and when you arrive you realize, that it’s already February. And it surprises you every time.