Time is a shadow
Time is a shadow.
It has no beginning and no end, but it is brief.
I can smell its beginning in the fragrance of lilacs. I hear it aging as the grass is mown. I feel time’s exhaustion in camp fires. It’s biting cold stings my cheeks. And I taste the tears of loss when time is up.
Time has no hands but I feel its pressure when it touches my heart with its fiery fingers.
When Grandpa Lundy climbed the East Lake Fire Tower—
A tall periscope of protection rising above the loblolly pines,
He measured time in the acres lost to forest fires.
No, that’s not right. He measured time by Sundays, his day of rest.
He would gather his family together on that day, and for a while, time would stand still.
Urgencies released their grasp.
He had time to play his banjo and sometimes have a hoot-n-nanny.
He believed moon shine was the devil’s doin’ and pert near believed it was what the serpent used to entice Eve to eat the fruit.
From his perch, he could only see tree tops, not the ground. Forests so dense, shadows and night walked hand in hand.
With his binoculars, Papa Lundy could see to the ends of the state, maybe the ends of the country.
When he was back on the ground, Papa said, “Now, Cindy, don’t you go playing near the garden. That’s our winter food. Youngin’s don’t see tomorrow, but I do. We will need them pole beans come winter. Go play by the back porch.”
Papa would shake his finger at me, and I would head to the back porch.
“This winter, we are going to have plenty of beans and collards. Can never have too many.”
From the back porch, I would look up at the fire tower and see the sky shaking its finger at me and whispering, “Tempus Fugit.”
And the shadows would grow longer and longer.