Time has been on my mind lately. In the dance of the clock face, which sees me chasing thin arms over a pattern of days; a work timetable done up with the woes of a heat-haemorrhaging building, leaky as a geriatric’s bladder. In the flight of nimbus over the sky, chasing each other’s tails and latching on with thin claws, to become the stratus that has laid a sheath of water over our isle. In the way light drifts between the needle-branches of trees, still bare in that aching wind … though the colour pales by the later hour. Darkness cedes to day, winter to spring; the air warms with our collective (held) breath, and we anticipate the turn, watch for the wool of catkins and early lambs.
I love this interlude between seasons; as a spring child, that turbulence of wild weather and inconsistency of mood, is my Everyday. Sometimes, staring up into the sky, I can laugh at my own reflection. Dark to light and back again – indigo to turquoise, bronze to brass, green to gold.
Time. It can be such a sullen thing, a teenager pacing the lounge floor, awaiting the verdict of their stern parent who holds the key to the door on their lips – the Yes or No, the Here or Go.
At the moment, I am one and both, the parent and child. To stay or to go? The city is beautiful yet, and full of singing stones, wind-whipped grass on the outskirts, fields of burnished crops or rutted rivers of good-grease soil. Clumped dirt, packed into my boots and weighing a kilo each at least, dragging on the knees, pulling me down.
I always stop to bang my boots on the pavement after leaving the field routes; the earth makes a satisfying tale of my walk, all along the tarmac. Inevitably, we carry pieces of the world we’ve touched, wherever we go. Though I try not to track any indoors, for the dog will eat the earth and go mad with being housebound.
I wouldn’t wish for that sense of smell, not for all the seasons or the scents in the world. To get just a whiff of a fox, must be akin to having ants in the blood.
I love it here. This eyrie that has become my writer’s heart. Watching the higher world from the skylights, I can at least pretend that I know where I am, where I’m going. Out there, lost in the blue-black shadows of teeter-totter buildings, travelling the haphazard cobbled streets with a strut borne of familiarity, I am somewhere that will never echo my ethos, but is Home all the same. Years have paced by, caught up in the reins of work and a relationship, and while it seems that both are now fading from my eyes, I am still unwilling to relinquish this place. This city, these people who I know and don’t understand, by their bling-bags and personalized numberplates put on shit cars that could have been a more elegant extension of Self, if the owners weren’t so enamoured of the modern rat-race. Wages stitched to a harlequin quilt of work and commute, with home somewhere at the hem, folded over and tucked neatly out of sight.
Not my time, nor my place; my thoughts only, my walk through the eyes of those I see on the cobbles everyday; they glance into my face and often blink, as though miscatching a thought. It sometimes makes me paranoid, so I have to go find a mirror to check I haven’t got a smudge on my nose, or something worse.
How does the dandelion clock know it is safe to let go of its precious nest of seedlings, to turn them loose to the wind that will carry them away to new beginnings?
How does the dog foxcub know it is time to stray from the earth for good, leaving behind its mother-vixen and sisters, to roam and call and watch the silver-black woods, with the coming autumn wind ruffling his fur and riming his bones?
When does the blue rose know to open at last, with its promise of love and eternity? No sunlight to scar its delicate lines, growing as they do in the dark places of the world; at the foot of trees where quiet pools lie with rings at their hearts, biding their time; where unicorns may still dwell, if they have any blood and faith left in existence.
A garden of blue roses: One soul beneath, one walking on over the face of the world, burdened with thorns and night-petals and absence; weary and waiting for Death’s smile.
Alone and not lonely.
Who knows when the time is right?
I don’t suppose even the old man himself, locked in his tower of spindles and thread, of black hearts and silver souls. Surrounded as he is by the wildest wood of all, by the coldest stones, where breath itself is a measure of Time on the air – the space between words, between digits on the clock, between one missive and the next – he might seem out of touch with reality.
But he is very much in-tune, with a finger on his own pulse.
The clock smiles on. The cat wavers between the waking world and the place where dreamers go. Catching my eye, he gives the solemn wink of one who knows too much, and is blessed/cursed by it all.
I’ll find answers soon.
Time is change, after all.