Tag Archives: time

Of Houses and Time

Countless vacant and abandoned houses are scattered over the American prairie and plains, headstones marking the passage of a rural way of life nearly gone as the face of agriculture has changed.  Each house has stories to tell, imprinted in front porch wood, kitchen walls, or the stones of an empty hearth.  A faded curtain moves in the breeze, and for a moment, murmuring voices are heard.  In the arid southwest, homes carved into cliffside ledges mark the presence of an entire civilization.  These Anasazi ruins speak of the passing of “The Ancient Ones,” a people whose origin and fate are unknown.  Stories live here as well, told in voices so old they are part of the land itself.  The Anasazi stone houses, empty now for about a thousand years, are likely to outlast the abandoned rural home of far newer vintage.  When this prairie house is torn down or burned, what will become of its stories?  Photos: Livingston County Illinois, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Apache County Arizona.

Advertisements

The “First Time”

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. 

Fragments of timelessness

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.