7.02.2007,10:30 PM
Time and friends: an anniversary
Recently I talked to an old friend on the phone. A friend I am very fond of, who knows me well, and reminds me that I can't fool him. We've known each other for a decade; a decade of trials and tribulations, smooth waters and tsunamis, each with separate lives but a connection and friendship that stands naked in honesty and trust. A friendship I treasure. And one I want to hold on to.

A theme of introspection pops up through the years like a fish jumping above the water surface for bugs: permanence. Nothing is permanent or static. Everything is dynamic and changing; not always for the better, but nevertheless, everything is on the move.

The master of deception is time. We change, from the moment of birth to the second of our death. Everything around us changes. I observed changes on my two-week road trip last year that could boggle the mind, if it only was aware of them. All the mountain passes were rolling green stretches at the beginning of my road trip west; on the way back they were splashed with rust, muted reds, bright yellows, and even the white of snow. All within seven to ten days. Like changing clothes, the mountains disrobed their green growth for a gown of golden, red and brown patterns.

Everywhere I travel I try to imagine what the landscape and life was like before the moment my eyes beheld it. The epitome of time and change was in the canyons and desert. Thousands of years of weathering by water, wind, freezing and blistering heat painted and carved those landscapes. Yet the process is so slow most people aren't aware of these changes as they gaze transfixed by the beauty and silence of what lies before them. What we observe is one point in a seemingly infinite timeline; infinite to us because we can not know the beginning or the end. All we are concerned with is 'now'.

The slow rate of change in the canyonlands is contrasted by our bustling impatience as we speed through our lives, always hurrying to our destination by the easiest and quickest way possible. Open the door of the SUV or RV, snap a picture and move on quickly to the next scene. Our entire lives are like a quick tour, barely scratching the surface to see what lies beneath, afraid to explore and watch as life unfolds around us. Most of us have no idea of what we miss, and thus no basis for appreciation of what or who surrounds us.

In this hustle through life we don't really live it. We just skim the surface like a sharp stone flung over the water. And once on the other side of the pond, we realize we never really saw the world that lies beneath. But by then it's too late.

"You don't know what you've got 'till it's gone. They paved Paradise and put up a parking lot."
Looking out over the canyons and desert everything may look the same. Standing on the edge of a canyon for days, years, decades and it may always appear the same. We may notice obvious changes: shadows of clouds creeping across the surface, blazing sunsets, contrasting shadows against the brilliant colors in the last light of the day, the parched ground of summer and its rejuvenation after a hard rain, spring flowers after the winter blanket of snow. But we will not see all these forces carve their presence in the earth as they crawl through time. What may seem permanent for us is never real; everything changes, but at different rates.

Many clocks exist in this world but in our realities they are not all the same.

Living in one place for a long duration alters our perception of time and change. We become oblivious to the crawl of time and changes are imperceptible. Eventually we become desensitized to everything around us and the routines of life drive us like cruise control on an automobile. We may wake up one morning and wonder where all those years went when today seems like all the other days so many years ago.

Some people barely move beyond their birthplace, with the same friends, family and townsfolk for most of their lives. Others creep across the continent or globe, crossing paths of others for a moment, a day or a few years.

Yet we all have landmarks in time, in our lives. They may be places or people we fondly remember, or moments that left their imprint upon us and which we may never forget. We gather these all into a handbasket and carry them with us, sometimes reaching in and holding them close to us, sometimes wanting to toss others out but they won't budge.

We change, they may change. Some paths of change never veer far from each other. Like the cycle of seasons in the canyons and deserts, layers of change marching to different clocks, some slower and some faster. People pass through our lives on a daily or yearly basis; here and gone. Others stay, connected by an invisible umbilical cord and never venture far. Even though they may be hundreds or thousands of miles away.

The only constant in this, our reality, is change. Although change often represents risk, may upset comfort levels, and challenge our beliefs, change is inevitable. Time drives changes in so many layers that circle around and within us, all relative to our mind's eye and our heart, we can't see it all let alone comprehend it. It is the asphalt that paves the paths of our lives. And to continue down the road, we must accept some level of change. Because life is a series of changes, in us, in others around us. Before our time, and after our time.

won't change.

My friend and I have traversed our roads of many changes: hills and potholes, slippery and bumpy, sleepy straight lines that are gone before we know, and sweet curves into the sunshine or away from the storms. We've changed. And we will continue to change.

But one thing remains the same, standing tall and strong over the test of time: our friendship.

Here's ten years to you, my friend.


posted by Macrobe
Permalink ¤