In the beginning, according to ancient Egyptian texts, the universe was a dark and watery nothingness, a shapeless and inert cosmic sea of blackness. From this void rose a mound of dry land, the Great Primeval Mound, upon which the sun god Ra materialized into form as the deity Atum. This was the moment of creation, the “First Time.” In ancient Egyptian theology, both the Great Pyramid at Giza and the natural rock outcropping upon which it is built correspond to the Great Primeval Mound. It is said to be a place of birth, death and rebirth, where time itself began.
Unless you’ve been hiding in a closet, you know that yesterday was the “Great American Eclipse.” Although that moniker sounds like something developed in an advertising agency (perhaps it was), the event is a rare and spectacular occurrence. It has been 99 years since a total solar eclipse crossed the entire United States, and 38 years since a total solar eclipse was visible anywhere in the continental US. Whether your interest in this event is from a cultural, astrological, or astronomical point of view, there is no doubt of its significance.
I’ve been pondering if a total solar eclipse is the ultimate time shadow. At this blog (and via my novels and other writings), I am interested in the notions of time, shadows, twilight, and horizons, and the multitude of ways those topics can be explored, understood, and marveled upon (see the title and subtitle at the top of the page). Surely, an uncommon total solar eclipse, which is a shadow sprinting across the land and its horizons at roughly 1700 miles per hour, would have to be Time Shadow Numero Uno.
But as I contemplated the idea further, I decided otherwise. A total solar eclipse is indeed a time shadow of high order, as I define the concept. But my ideas, relevant as they may be here and there, are merely ephemeral dust in the wind. I suspect one would have to nominate the journey we embark upon at the end of our physical lives as the ultimate time shadow, since it is, after all, a one-way crossing of an unknowable horizon into an unknown realm.
However, a total solar eclipse remains awe-inspiring no matter how we define it. The photos and video of yesterday’s event are phenomenal. Those who were fortunate enough to be in the 70-mile wide path of totality have notched a bucket-list item into their lifelines.
(Photo from the NASA Internet feed, Carbondale IL, during a brief moment of open sky at approximately 1:22PM CDT)
In a land of limitless horizons, there are moments when the arrow of time seems to vanish. A crystal point of distant horizon appears, and the clouds and wind are moving yet going nowhere. These fragments of timelessness occur most readily in high summer, in the lateness of afternoon, or the onset of evening, when the long hours of daylight passing into twilight are still ahead and the deeds of the day are behind. An intangible shard of temporary eternity floats out of the sky and settles all around, comforting in its insulation. It is neither before nor after, but only “now,” a single thread of the fabric of the present. Its essence is both so small as to be immeasurable, and so vast as to be incomprehensible. One can feel it, wrap oneself within it, breathe it in, and partake of its singularity, but it cannot be held or prolonged. There is no influence upon it save its own, and it will vanish as readily as it comes, replaced by the forward motion of time’s arrow. And then one longs to meet it again. Teton County, Wyoming.
By Paul James Zack
Stories and scenes come alive in the time shadows of our minds. An elusive fragment of late afternoon rests on your thoughts . . . the ephemeral light of an ancient evening embraces the land . . . the bonds of physical reality float away in the vastness of the night.
Time shadows. Where you have been. And where you never were. A person you loved, once upon a season, long ago, but still today. Do they remember? Did they ever know?
Always the stories. The stories remain, after the parting, after the dust disappears on the wind. The stories allow us to live, and live again. Can we ask for anything more?
An Eternal Melody is the story of cowboy singer Casey Beckett and western artist Victoria Ames. Casey, fast approaching the middle of his life, is a man out of place in a world run by clocks and computers. Bonded to the land with his Wyoming roots, yet driven by restlessness he can only vaguely understand, he travels the country to sing and recite cowboy poetry. Victoria, middle-aged and separated from her husband, is struggling to follow her dreams. She yearns to live in the infinite vistas of the western landscapes she creates on canvas, but wonders if her desires can ever be attained in a life where her every step forward has been matched by retreat.
When Casey walks into Victoria’s art gallery on a hot June day, their lives are forever changed as they begin a passionate romance transcending the boundaries of time and place. Written in poetic prose, An Eternal Melody is an unforgettable tapestry of tenderness and yearning, defining what it means to dance to the music within one’s heart. Set in harmony with the lyrical soul of the land, this love story reminds us that hope can exist even at the darkest hours, at the final curtain, and that with courage and affirmation, a man and a woman together can fulfill their shared destiny. An Eternal Melody will speak to your spirit and haunt you with its passion.
This book is now available on Amazon Kindle (please click on the link below). Exploring the pages of this site, you will find photographs from scenes in the book, poetry from Casey Beckett, and the first chapter of the story. Read, imagine, experience. Find a place in the time shadows of your mind. And your heart.
To purchase an e-book copy of this book from Amazon Kindle, please click on the title: An Eternal Melody Thank you!
Posted in Fiction, Love Story, Novel, Photography, Poetry, Romance, Writing
Tagged ancient, art gallery, artist, cowboy, dance, Eternal, love story, Melody, minds, music, passion, photographs, poetry, romance, stories, time shadows, western, Wyoming