Tag Archive | time

Temple Athena



Time change
Athens to Rome
Is it one hour, or two?
Ten thousand hours
Or rocket time
How many minutes to wisdom
Eons to Mount Olympus
Seconds of knowing.

Dry olives, thirsty cypress
Hard rock staging cuts into the hillside
Steep incline steps
White dirt dust howls at the Parthenon
Twenty five hundred years of time
And grit is still grit
Parched throats are nothing new.

Wind of the ancients blows today
Acropolis sand, carved from the rock
Gift of the gods
Limestone harvest, marble dust
An immortal Greek chorus
Choked with fossil specks of ancient seas
Hair tangled with abrasive sand
Tiny follicle columns eroding
Goddess-sized pillars alike
Losing definition
Fading beauty
(Too much time is not good for stone statues or shiny hair.
Even the gods understand that.)

And flat sandal feet
Slapping the goddess ground
Slap slap leather feet
Finding purchase on the slippery rock
So worn, so weary
This sandstone perch
Higher than the city
Lower than Olympus
Cast in crippled revery.

Temple Athena
Where time is uncertain
Holding secrets of the ages
How many hours till one grows wise?
Is it an hour, or two?
Confused time
Airport time
Bewildered rock
Timeless hill
Forgotten goddess blowing away
Sad beauty
In a minute or two, featureless
Time change, and gone.


In Limbo


I am nothing if not consistent. I consistently come back to the same place year after year after year. No, it’s not the fried clam shack. No, it’s not the ice cream stand. It’s not even the wine shop. Though I frequent them often, it’s none of these fine establishments of New England culture and cuisine that catches and holds me.

No, where I come back to time and again is limbo. Not the biblical limbo, not Dante’s limbo. No, it’s not exactly hell. Just a frustrating, all enveloping while it lasts, depressing state of emotional turmoil.

I visit a place that never changes. It’s the place where I feel bad about myself. It’s the place where I wonder what my life could be. No matter how accomplished I’ve become, no matter how well activities in my life are progressing, no matter how much proof there is that I lead a solid, productive existence. A dozen things go right. And then, for no good reason and with no warning, I’m back in limbo.

In limbo I experience melancholy. A sadness sweeps over me. I feel a yearning, a desire for something different, for a better life than I now have. I am one of the most privileged people on earth, and I know it. Why is it that I can’t be happy with what I have? Why do I get these spells of downheartedness? A strange sensation washes over my skin, leaving me wistful, longing for something to change. It’s like the cold wind that comes in autumn after a long, warm summer. It prickles your skin and makes you wake up. Makes you turn direction. Reflects your thoughts toward winter.

This feeling – it’s wondering, it’s longing, it’s yearning, it’s aching to reach for something but I don’t know what it is and I can’t find it anywhere. Like Carole King’s Tapestry….”my life has been a tapestry of rich and royal hue, an everlasting vision of an ever changing view…a tapestry to feel and see, impossible to hold.” The vision is there, but my tapestry is complex, with so many folds and turns and twists, hidden alleyways and dead ends and false turns, that I can’t see what might be there before me. I am consumed with the present, and leave no time for pondering. I don’t see the places that will trip me up.

What’s it all about? sang Dionne Warwick. Is it just for the moment we live? I suppose my limbo place makes me pay attention to the pitfalls and shortcomings and disasters that are in me. I guess limbo serves a purpose. But perhaps I’d be happier if my emotional habits didn’t include always returning to that one sad place where I wonder what is wrong. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I move ahead? Where is it that I long to go?


Cruel Time


“Who knows where the time goes?” “Time is on my side, yes it is.” “A time for every season under heaven.” Three songs that were popular at one point in time over the last decades. Three different takes on time. What is time? What is the meaning of it? How can 40 years, for example, have gone by since I graduated from high school? How can time possibly be on my side when it has robbed me of my youth? And who has the patience for the slow but sure turning of the clock of the seasons, when one’s life must be lived in such a very short period of time?

Why so many questions?

Inquiring minds need to know what makes the world work. Why a life can turn in a minute from calm to upheaval, from happy to sad, from joy to despair. Why things left unsaid and undone will never be resolved if too much time goes by. No one can play catch up with time. Time will turn the wheel relentlessly, moving us farther and farther away from our original intentions. Refusing to allow repeats or do overs. Despite what Einstein had to say, there is a linear nature to time that is cruel. There’s no going back. It keeps on, it won’t stop, it doesn’t allow us to jump off or start again. Timing is virtually everything. Unless we’re crazy, unless we’re nuts, unless we’re living in some fantasy world where everything is okay, we’re stuck. Held hostage. Having the time of our lives…



Time is a Long, Long Ladder


At some time in your life, you’re going to begin questioning why you exist. You’ll take a look at the length of your history, at your stories, your accomplishments, your failures. You’ll think of your present, of the beliefs you cling to and those you’ve allowed to slip away. And the future? An indecipherable mass of uncertainty. You can’t know.

Time only travels in one direction, even though one’s memory is not linear. But what if your life was more like a space elevator? A space elevator that runs along a ribbon-like track made of carbon nanotube fiber. Carbon nanotubes have enormous tensile strength. They can be woven together to form a very thin ribbon or cable of immense strength. The ribbon is cemented into the ocean floor at the equator, and a length over 22,000 miles long launched into space. It rises up to orbit with the earth, held in place by centrifugal force. That force at the top of the ladder is stronger than gravity. The ladder will seem stationary at its base on the surface of the earth, while its top will be spinning through time and space.

Now add an elevator that can climb the carbon ladder and deliver you right up to the top of the world, more than 22,000 miles up. And what’s at the top? A hotel for space tourists, of course. A real destination that you can visit as many times as you wish, vacation time permitting.

If you compare the ladder to your life, the base cemented into the ocean is your past. The cement, your family; the ocean, your friends. This is your watery world. Now step into the elevator cabin and thrill as you climb the carbon ribbon toward the sun. This remarkable journey is your present. You’ve got to shield yourself from the radiation all around you. And protect yourself from electrical storms. Those are the challenges your life brings your way. At the top is your future, that space hotel in the sky with every amenity available in the universe. What a vacation! You can’t imagine that future, you simply have to experience it. It’s the enormity of space: who can know what it will bring? Since it will take many days to reach the top, you’ll need a few months of time to fully enjoy your space hotel.

But then, probably too soon, your vacation is over and you must descend. Your past becomes your future, your return to your beginnings. The journey is still pleasant, though your ears may pop. But unlike the space hotel orbiting the earth, your final destination is known. Your future is no long a mystery. You’re going back. You’re going home. Your future becomes your past. Your present repeats, though in reverse.

How is it possible to know your future? How can you choose a future, when only the present is real? Maybe we live in parallel universes, where at any given time, what’s real can vary. I wonder if the only way to figure out why you exist is to take that carbon nanotube ribbon of a space elevator into the sky. Up through the clouds, up past the atmosphere, up into the coldness of space, up where the earth holds us but still allows us to spin freely in time, in utter darkness and emptiness. Time is a long, long ladder. But I wonder which way to travel on it. Which way is real. Which way?

PS Space elevators and carbon nanotube space ladders are real concepts originating in science fiction, but currently being designed and developed. Someday, you’ll be able to take your vacation up a very thin ladder to a space hotel in the sky.



Mirror of the Past


Mirror, mirror on the wall  e5d7d-mein1969
Why can’t I look
Like I did when I was 16?

We women prefer the mirror of the past, I was told today by a friend on Facebook. We become insecure as we grow older. Men age gracefully. Or, we accept that men grow older. Their seasoned faces show signs of character. We women show wrinkles and sagging skin. We are jowly old crones over time, maturing into bosomy, flabby, ample fullness.

The person who commented that we women prefer the mirror of the past was not being unkind. He was trying to tell me that there is no need to hide behind a profile picture taken when I was 16. He thinks I look better now in photos of my mature fullness than in those of my girlhood. At least that’s what he said. He’s a person of great depth, so I have to believe that he means what he says.

What do I think? Am I better now – me, fully ripened fruit? I look at my photo here, taken when I was 16. How could I possibly believe that I have improved? I, who am hurtling frantically and relentlessly toward old age.

I look again, and remember. I remember the truth. Back then, I believed I was hideous. I was a mess, a nightmare of insecurity. I wasn’t tall enough; my thighs were too fat, my hair was frizzy; I wanted a model’s cheekbones and found none at all in my face. My lips were too thin, my mouth too small, my upper arms bulgy, my nose enormous, my waist too large, my calves manlike, my limbs too short. I am not making up any of this. These are the thoughts that I had about myself then, at age 16. These are the thoughts that I have about myself now, only amplified over more than 40 additional years and many more pounds.

I remember thinking back then – why can’t I look like anyone else, anyone but me? Why can’t I be anyone but me?

No, I haven’t improved. My perception of myself hasn’t changed. I will forever dislike the present that is me. I think my friend is correct in one regard though. I do prefer the mirror of the past, because the alternative, this real aging woman, is so difficult to face. Whether all women feel the same, I can’t say. I am aware of a few who are more confident about themselves than I’ve ever been. But I would guess that most of us look to our pasts when thinking of our beauty. Perhaps there are even some men who wish the reflection in their own mirrors could record an earlier, more fit time. Perhaps we would all readily hide in the shadows of our past.

Wishing and Waiting

                                                             TIME AND OTHER NONSENSE

I wish for world peace. I wait for a kind word.

I want a spring day. I wait for February to end.

I desire long legs. I can wait all I want but that will never happen.

I hope for joy. I wait for a friend to help me laugh.

I anticipate six more weeks of winter. I wait for the first crocus to bloom.

I hope to win the lottery. I wait in line for a ticket.

I desire love. I wait for my kids to call.

I want to be rich. I wait for my biweekly paycheck.

I expect uniqueness. I may wait my entire life for this expectation.

I wish for acknowledgment. Still waiting.

Time Stands Still


When I was a teenager, I could count on a few things. One, my life was boring and relentlessly so. Two, there was absolutely nothing of any entertainment value happening in my old home town. And three, time had a way of taking so long to pass that it seemed virtually to stand still.

I disliked high school very much. Okay, that’s four. Along with the going to school (already remarked upon at length), there was the reality of the school day itself. Whether the subject was biology or algebra, Spanish or civics, I’d look at the clock in my classroom – 10:20. A half hour later, I’d look again – 10:23. And again when I was sure the bell had to sound any second – 10:23. Even my disturbingly handsome trigonometry teacher, Mr. S___, couldn’t persuade me to keep my eyes off the clock. You know the old saying about the pot that never boils? Watching that clock like I did, dragged out a perfectly standard school day into a universe of time.

And so it is for my character Glory in PERSEPHONE IN HELL. In this scene, she’s in history class, watching a spider up on the ceiling when she should have been listening to the teacher.

“Miss M____, are you still with us?” sneered Mrs. Hansen. “Can you tell me which monarch, which king was next in succession?” A trick question for sure.

Glory looked squarely at the teacher with her piercing violet eyes and replied in her straightforward way, as though she had been listening all along. “The great queen, Elizabeth the First, of course.” The class burst out laughing – Glory was so good at showing up the teacher. Mrs. Hansen turned red, furiously scribbled out a pink detention note, and slapped it on Gloria’s desk.

Glory looked up and saw the daddy long legs gone, escaped from the classroom. The spider at least, is free. She hoped with all the fierceness of her spirit that it was female.”

Now you might be thinking by this now that Glory is really me in disguise. But the truth is, I never got detention. Maybe once. Spiders freak me out. And I always paid attention in class. That’s the truth, for the most part.