No more timely time to consider Time itself than right around the time we all make the consensual, arbitrary, stolid-but-capricious agreement to watch every midnight tick of the clock one night a year and swap out calendars, jumping from one felled tree to another in the roaring river of Time, as we log-drivers all shoot the mandatory rapids, trying to balance, stay upright, not get soaked or knocked in the drink, not get socked in the head by something large, unyielding, and not likely to stop at skull, once it gets up a head of steam, develops a mind of its own, aimed at our own head-meat.
When alive, those de-limbed trees blitzing the white-water once counted time on an arc far longer than the beings who felled them. Time is more relative than we think -- perhaps more than we can think.
We've all experienced the paralysis of time passage when laboring under weights of various dreads, known the palpable, brake-locked stoppage of time during moments of life-frozen crisis, felt the jet-winged shredding of clocks while swooping, soaring, and threading our many delights.
But, accounting for longer arcs and eras? That takes, well, time -- the nearest we're likely to get to feeling the stuff of tree-time, of sensing our inner rings under our barks and bites, of telling histories from what lies between those rings, from drought to drowning and back again, is experiencing a long wink of time, even though a brief blink in tree-time.
You see, I just discovered, moments ago, that Mario Cuomo left the planet on New Year's Day: The day where we all envision the mythic figures of Father Time, cloaked and stooped over, handing off the marathon baton and large, double-dome-chimed windup clock, to the diapered babe, freshly powdered, chest-bannered, and ready to assume the mantle and yoke of its year-long master. This day has had me feeling that tree arc in my roots, like that sensibility just fell across my windshield, out of the blue, crushing my hood and roof.
The news might as well have been a spent jet engine, augering into the driveway, so much excess baggage shaken off the fuselage, shed from an out-of-sight overflight. Contemplating such a deep, sharp, gash and sudden shaft in the gravel drive, and sighting such an impromptu, scattergun-style decorating scheme of spare aircraft pieces and shattered piecemeal geology, would have been much easier to do, simpler to take in.
Having a hand the size of an alpine peak, say, come down, scoop me up, and set me gently down in Tahiti, would have been a piece of comparative cake to absorb. Being invited in to the glowing saucer by the little mauve men -- green is out this year on the universal fashion palette, I guess -- with their spindly antennae and nine eyes each, would have been something I could have taken in without a wince, grimace, comment, or shrug.
Losing this fiery, passionate, fair, sane voice of reason locks me into slow-motion and then freeze-frames me, stretching life all rubbery, like cold taffy, both daft and daffy, banding my timeline as if my motions and emotions were framed around the room in swirly frescoes and friezes.