Time Versus Rurality


Time is a trickster when the sun is high. Nimble footed and coyote-backed she moves without caring what day it is, fells you into sleep in the afternoons when the valley is thick with heat and keeps you up through a buzzing mosquito night that is answered all too quickly by the roosters screaming at a 5:00am dawn. She moves off the calendar and becomes when the strawberries are ripe, then the thimbleberries, saskatoons, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries. When the first cut of hay comes in, then the second. When the first ears of corn appear. She superheros you into accomplishing feats of quantum project completion that would be quite impossible in winter time. She pants and sweats and throws you in the ice cold creek and then comes back for more.

In the midst of her movement, the never ending stream of the things that are growing, flowering, fruiting, you find yourself in the strangest experience: amidst all her velocity she stops. You stand on the valley bottom, one hand holding a palmful of saskatoons, the other the reins of a horse. It is as if you are looking out over the place you are standing from a great height. As if you are out of your body but more in it than ever before. Then time starts trotting again, and you catch her mane and swing onto her broad back, which turns into a field filled with round bales and the slim tracks of deer that slip across the road at night to graze through your dreams.

In truth she will have her way with you, this lady time. She always does. But she will gift you her cycles and her riches too, far beyond what the ticking of a clock can measure. There is something about this rural way of living that pushes us beyond the veneer that keeps us trapped in civility. Things get a little rough around the edges. Other things get missed. Some of them you can pick up again but others will be lost from you forever. Taste all of it. The dust and the heat and the frustration and the overwhelm, the brief feeling that you can hold the whole world in your arms and the futility of trying to hang on to any of it. Find the stillness that exists on the same side of the moment, where time’s coyote feet run backwards for the briefest of measures. Find the inhale. Then turn the berry in your mouth once over before you let it burst on your tongue.

Author’s note: This may or may not be an attempt at a poetic justification for the author missing her blog deadline last month. Actually, it is. I can speak for her and say that she did not know what day it was, that she is guilty until proven innocent. Guilty, but oh so real.