Outside of Time

For work reasons, I’m often driving these days on a backroad in Greensboro, Vermont — a wooded stretch of dirt road with few houses. At a particular place, I always remember the August day when I was driving along with a friend, our two five-year-olds in the backseat. The five-year-olds were likely conspiring or arguing. We were driving home from a circus performance in a tent in a large hayfield.

My friend got out of the car and ran off the road with her camera. She wanted to photograph some giant flowers in the woods. Were they Giant Hogweed? Cow Parsnip? She took her time while I stayed with the five-year-olds. The kids were buckled in, and we weren’t letting them out.

Oh, August. Memories upon memories. Who wants to remember January with its endless days of 20 below zero? But August? Somehow, in these days, we’re always young parents, with that enthusiasm for enormous wildflowers and all the time in the world to take photos — at least for these few, gorgeously shimmering days.

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Photo by Gabriela S.

Girl All Grown Up

In a handful of days, my oldest daughter will be twenty-one. Wow, that’s a birthday.

When she turned six and I marveled over that, another mother told me all birthdays are big. Six was big, and so was seven, and so on. But 21? That’s an age when her heart’s been broken, more than once, an age when she’s fully left adolescence and crossed over into the realm of adulthood.

The year she turned six, her best girlfriend from down the road walked over wearing a tutu. Snow was falling.

When she turned seven, my friend had made her a piñata with purple and silver sparkles. When the pretty thing broke apart, her baby sister cried.

Twenty-one: now I keep up with the Impeachment hearings to hold up my end of our conversation. Twenty-one: so glad to have you here.

No matter who lives, who dies, the seasons never rest.
Creatures take their turns, and the year turns and turns.

David Budbill, Judevine

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Summer, Age 14

14 years ago yesterday, I sat in my friend’s kitchen nursing my newborn while she labored to bring into the world her daughter. Her mother-in-law served me a bowl of chicken soup from an enormous pot she had cooked.

Returning from a walk yesterday evening, I spy my daughter reading on front porch with her cats. Those days with an infant I hardly had a sense of evening from afternoon, in that churning wheel of nursing and diapers and tending.

Time passing threads all through my writing — how can it not? — and yet, sometimes I find myself staring through a window, thinking, here we are, right at this very moment.

The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

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