Time and Memory Redux

Here’s a piece from one of my journals–journals are primary research materials for this memoir, Written on the Reverse. Word count forbids putting everything in.

The entry is from January, 1995, when I’d left Santa Fe for a week, after two semesters at St. John’s College and abstract philosophical thinking, one might say in reaction to, and drove south to El Paso, Texas, parked the car in a grocery store parking lot, walked across the bridge into Mexico, took a bus south to ocean, and spent five days in Topolobampo, Sinaloa as the ferry came and went to La Paz. The writing is on Time, a topic as relevant today as it was in 1995.

We could title it “Time and Memory.”

f foucalts pen (2)
                                          Foucault Pendulum

A Daemon lives in my soul, crackles and crunches on pieces of time left behind i old books and old journals. Crunching years, voracious, laughing gleefully, he opens his mouth, swallows seconds, minutes, hours. I am not watching, forget to guard, my meandering thoughts wander elsewhere.daemon

He waits, smacks his lips, waits for inattention, for the moments I gaze out the window. He creeps upon my reverie, glomp, snap, crackle, and gone.

Attention or inattention, he dines none the less–dines on great globs of forgetfulness or delicate smidges of used up moments.

Reaching into the white wool snowdrifts of memory, I find no slipper belonging to Mr. Prothero. Ha! laughs the daemon deep within. You thought there be messages worth keeping? You thought in that fresh fallen moment of time, there would be (please one!) worth saving?

There is! There is! I shout back defiant. There are gems, there are moments you don’t have! And I open my hand to display what I’ve found, finding banana peels and old coffee grounds.



10 thoughts on “Time and Memory Redux

  1. Janet, I can picture you parking your car, walking across the bridge and taking the bus to the ocean in Mexico…I’m glad the demon didn’t devour all the time and memories because your words are still as meaningful today as they were in 1995. Such descriptive words…I could see him munching and crunching…and the banana peels and coffee grinds left within your hands…What poetry…Thank you for sharing this!!

    1. You’re welcome! I’m grateful for this blog that lets me post things I like but that don’t fit in the book. It was an interesting piece to find. It seems to hold true today, too. Sometimes I find myself gazing out the window and suddenly the morning is half gone and I have no idea what happened to it.

      Thank you so much for being so encouraging about my writing, Lia. You make me smile.

      1. Indeed, time flies for me too…the days whiz by and I wonder what I’ve accomplished??? Trying to stay focused in summer is hard 🙂
        I’m so happy to make you smile..Your comment here has made my day!
        Happy Tuesday, my friend!

  2. I was intrigued by this: “There are gems, there are moments you don’t have! And I open my hand to display what I’ve found, finding banana peels and old coffee grounds.”

    What if the banana peels and coffee grounds ARE the gems? That’s a complex and compelling bit of imagery you’ve provided.

    It puts me in mind of a bit from Eliot’s Four Quartets, one of the most stunning meditations on time, ever:

    “Garlic and sapphires in the mud
    Clot the bedded axle-tree.
    The trilling wire in the blood
    Sings below inveterate scars
    Appeasing long forgotten wars.
    The dance along the artery
    The circulation of the lymph
    Are figured in the drift of stars
    Ascend to summer in the tree
    We move above the moving tree
    In light upon the figured leaf
    And hear upon the sodden floor
    Below, the boarhound and the boar
    Pursue their pattern as before
    But reconciled among the stars.”

    1. Well, I’ve never been told my imagery puts anyone in mind of Eliot! I’ll have to think of what you’ve said. Thankfully, it was good coffee!
      Thanks so much for reminding me of this piece of poetry. I’d not read it in a while.

  3. I’m with you….only I wonder if it’s the Midwest or the fact that at ocean, we are resting, usually, and don’t live there and so don’t have the deadlines and the pressures. That’s why we go to the ocean!! LOL. I do treasure my early morning time here at the window, writing in the journal, watching the day birth itself. And do my best, at least for a while, not to boot up the phone.
    But funerals are a different sort of out-of-time time and bring us smack up against mortality in a way that oceans and sunrises don’t.
    Thanks so much for the comment, Susan.

  4. I can’t choose between what impresses me most -your escape to Mexico or your marvelous piece on the monster time and its indiscriminate gobbling. You write with authority. Magnificent images. WOW!

    1. Thank you so much! What an interesting comment. In those days, I struggled with time all the time, as it were, I was going to graduate school and teaching college and reading and writing and behind all the time. That week in Mexico was such a blessing.

  5. Juggling time and memory today myself–aren’t we always?
    This summer has been a lot about what to remember and how to save the memories securely.
    Two funerals–one for a sixth grader in June, one for an aide in his 50s this week–have added extra attention to life’s brevity and value. And yet, clinging anxiously only robs us of what time we have to savor. Something about the ocean reminds me to enjoy time passing–to trust the pacing of life. Back in the Midwest, i’m more fidgety about time–more suspicious that it’s not my friend. Time, to often, appears as deadlines, rather than breaths, meals, sunrises, sunsets.

    1. I thought I responded to your post but I don’t see it here so again, time ate my memory and what I meant to do.
      I do remember thinking or wondering if the reason we go to the ocean is just for that time to remember. Perhaps if we lived there all the time, we’d be just as busy forgetting to pay attention in a life of doing.

I love conversations! Let's start one.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.