Thursday, December 24, 2009

Time Keeps On Trippin'

Time is a trippy motherfudger.

I'm on Long Island, near the area where I grew up. My earliest memories look just like the places I went today: small houses tightly packed on every street, trees lining the spaces in between and every empty lot, diminishing as those are these days. Snow is coating everything following a recent storm. I can almost feel the same air I used to breathe. It's weird, and not a little unsettling.

Nothing about this place feels current. It all feels like an old dream. Where I live - my current life - the houses tend toward Spanish or Craftsman or Mid-Century in style. Here the old Dutch Colonials stare back at me, beckoning me to come inside. Come walk around with my eyes closed. I know the way by heart. Did I really live here, grow up here, have an entire existence here before I knew there was more?

We had dinner at my aunt and uncle's tonight with my grandfather. Grandpa has Alzheimer's disease and it's been a couple of years since I've seen him, between my living out of state and his reduced attendance at the annual family gatherings. My dad and I picked him up from the home where he lives now and brought him back to my aunt's. He was hunched over and using a walker, and though he seemed to recognize me as an old familiar, he certainly didn't know my name and couldn't retain where we were going or why. He did manage a bit of a quip every now and then, a throw-back to his razor sharp wit and gregarious nature. And when the Christmas carols came on, he sung along full pipes.

Coming back here is like Indiana Jones in the snake pit: face to face with my greatest fears. I've written of being upset by time's rapid passing and my reluctant inability to make it slow down. I am both afraid of the future and of time's passing. I find myself in quite a conundrum.

My friend is in the hospital tonight in labor, her first child on the precipice. I am overwhelmed for her and envious all at the same time. Time is definitely not standing still for her.

Merry Christmas to you. May we find ourselves with the intelligence to live life fully, every day. May time not intimidate the best intentioned of us. May my friend have her baby soon, and a healthy baby at that. And may my grandfather be with us next year to sing another verse of "Auld Lang Syne."

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