I don’t think I believe in linear time. Lines are just points joined together; they don’t have heft or taste. They exist to measure who’s winning, but have no extent. They’re abstract. You can’t sense linear time internally the same way other time is detected.
I have moments when I am chock full of vital energy and vigour and other v words. Mere passing inklings when I feel potentiality like a stiff breeze streaming over a high precipice and I am reed-ready to bend or float. At other moments I am oppressed by the imposition of each heavy decade like I’m pulling my legs out of mud, and time is the sinus-pain-like pressure I am immured in. The harder I struggle in this sucking, dragging bog, the more I stay stuck, merely marking it, not making time.
Confronted by the hard fact of time, the indefinite continued progress of existence I dilly dally. I fritter away the day, the night and the in-betweens.
But time is also internal, metabolic. Red blood cells live four months, cells in my stomach renew about every five days, bone cells take 10 years, while some cells in my body will live and die and never regenerate. This explains my dental bills, and a scar over my eye from a childhood rock fight. I am the same person I always was, and yet…
Today, with the knowledge and experience I possess and with this haircut, would I recognise this person if I appeared before the me of 20 years ago? That me who wore different glasses, lived in a different place, and was struggling to cope with similar and different challenges while listening to a cooler soundtrack? Where did she go, and how did I arrive? Too many fruitless questions are wearying. Life feels like waking from an afternoon nap: there is confusion and panic that I’ve skipped ahead and I’ve missed something. Until I remember…I have time. Perhaps it’s all I have, even though, like the white rabbit, I am late to the party.
My endless becoming is my measure of the passage of time. Bumpy and boring, fun and fearful, and slow, slow all mixed up in odd combinations of exhausted vitality and vigorous frailty, cycling through storms of quiet weariness and becalmed seas of every day joys.
And the clouds pass, changing from moment to moment. Dark or fluffy and light, they are as insubstantial as immortal jellyfish: floating, living water. I see shapes in them, but they contain their own meanings.
I don’t know what any of this means, but I do know there are no points to be made, and no lines to be drawn between them.