Saturday, April 12, 2008

ponderings on a saturday night...make that sunday morning

"Can we change the world without changing the way we describe, structure and view the world?" asks truth cycles.

i set off last evening, after reading truth cycles' lovely post, to write about time and about memory and about changing the world. but, then life intervened, there were bedtime over-tired tears, a toe stubbed to bleeding, drama, a mosquito buzzing in an almost-asleep ear, more crying, then at last an exhausted little girl fell asleep after a very busy day of saturday activity.

sometimes, it seems that you have all the good intentions of wanting to change the world and how you're living in it and the impact you have on it, but then the real nitty gritties of life get in the way and divert your attention and your time. but then, who is to say that reading a story and comforting my daughter wasn't really a more worthy use of my time than sitting in front of the computer, composing a blog entry?

i studied in russia a number of years ago and during that time, i felt that time had slowed down. i had the strange sense that there was always exactly the amount of time in each day that i needed to do the things i had to and wanted to get done. i've often pondered why that was and never really come up with a satisfactory answer. but, perhaps it's because i was expressing time another language (in this case, russian). perhaps, as i have been provoked to think by the truth cycles posting, it was a matter of having oriented myself differently to time in another language and another setting. i simply lived with another relationship to time. since i assumed and expressed that i always had enough time to get things done, i in fact DID have that time. and in that, i always had enough time to go for a long walk arm in arm with friends, to drink endless cups of tea from the samovar, to go the opera or ballet every other evening, to do my homework, to attend classes, to journal and to stand in the queue outside the milk store, hoping to get some of that creamy chocolate milk, to look at wind-up watches in "watch world." all of that effortlessly fit into my days and months in kazan.

it was something about russia and perhaps russian because when i returned 3 years later for gabi's honeymoon trip on the volga, i had the same sensation...of time elongating, and being exactly as long as i needed it to be. those glorious golden days in the sunshine on the volga stretching out, the hours spent poking around in the little towns along the way, buying a basket from an old black-clad woman who had made it, taking a fantastic picture of a "dead piano" in a long-neglected manor house, wandering among the golden-cupolas of nizhny novgorod. it was a week, but in memory, it stretches into much longer. perhaps because it was such a relaxing time.

maybe that's why time seems to go so quickly in everyday life. because we're never relaxed. we're always rushing on to the next thing, never taking the time to enjoy and savor the moments as we are in them. so, although i perhaps didn't change the world yesterday, the fact that i took the time to comfort a tired little girl, to read to her, tickle her back and just be with her in that moment, maybe that was enough for that day. maybe it's the kind of thing she will remember one day and she will be happy her mom had time for her. and maybe thereby, one small gesture at a time, we actually do change the world.


Phyllis Hunt McGowan said...

I've been pondering this post for two days now. It's...well, it's absolutely beautiful. Its presence on a page would be the catalyst for my buying a book.
"i simply lived with another relationship to time."
If you can bottle how you achieved that, and sell it, you'd make a fortune. I feel that way about my days in California- I always had time for friends, thrift stores, long drives and long walks. Now I don't have time to blink. I think you said it right though- this IS life, and we waste it if we're rushing to the next thing.
I could talk about Time for hours.
This was a lovely calming piece to reread just before bed.

julochka said...

thank you so much for your kind words. i actually turned the post over in my mind for 24 hours, since i was deterred in writing it at the moment i started it (blogger seems to leave that time there, but that's another story), but i think that having more time to think about it actually helped. again, there it is...having more time! :-)