Sunday, October 24, 2010

Time Skies

Looking north to Pasadena from Raymond Hill.

On a fall day in Illinois when I was about fifteen, the skies were like these skies--cloudy and restless. It was my first year in high school. The route home from school was about a mile, maybe a little more. I could have cut through the neighborhoods to Lions Park but instead I took Taylor Street, because it was straighter and it got me to the same place. I guess I was in a hurry.

As I crossed the bridge over the Kishwaukee River a feeling of sadness overwhelmed me. It was a beautiful melancholy, an adult feeling I'd never felt before. I wanted to understand it, to keep it.

I slowed down and cut through the park, shuffling through the mixture of pine needles and autumn leaves on the ground. I didn't have words for the feeling, but I knew Time was moving--I was moving. There was no stopping either of us and precious things were being left behind. The brand new knowledge of that enormity was what I wanted to savor.

I stayed among the pine trees, as though stepping out into the open would end the spell. A trickle of river ran alongside the grove, and from where I stood I could see the small shelter by the baseball diamond. The park was empty. I waited as long as I could, hiding in the trees and holding my new feeling until some kids came along on bikes, breaking into the autumn silence. It was time to go home.

Fleeting time is a familiar concept to me now. It's just as enormous as it was then--no less beautiful and no less sad.

18 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

"A beautiful melancholy." I know that feeling too, Petrea. The enormity of it... yes. A lovely post.

Dina said...

Sigh . . . you sure know how to say things, Petrea, and to feel and illustrate them.

Mister Earl said...

Stunning photo and great piece!

Jean Spitzer said...

Well said--and pictured.

Petrea said...

Thanks, my friends. This weather brings it back.

J+P said...

The light that comes will go. Every day you knew that drew you nearer to me.

Bellis said...

How lovely you can remember this so clearly. It's sad that we become aware of the passing of time when we're teenagers. Until that age, I never thought about it - it was endless. Now I'm constantly chased by the clock and the calendar.

You were lucky to get a view from Raymond Hill, as the condos are so tightly packed they keep it to themselves.

Petrea said...

J.

Bellis, it's one of my sharpest memories. Other, larger events waver in my mind.

I'm aware that we have time in abundance, yet it's precious. The message is dichotomous: we have time to do everything we want to do, so we must use that time wisely.

I've seen better views on Laurie's blog, Bellis, but either she knows a better spot or she was trespassing! A braver woman than I am.

Karen said...

Beautifully written, Petrea.

I also remember similar moments of awareness (epiphany?) that occurred when I was an adolescent. I think that phenomenon of recognizing the passage of time must be an integral part of becoming an adult.

Somehow, it is in the beauty and nearness of nature that those striking moments seem to happen. Which is what makes me want to live closer to nature. I think it is a creative catalyst.

Petrea said...

Maybe so, Karen. I know living near the mountains now, and walking the trails, feels like sustenance. Maybe when I was a girl, the river and the open fields worked the same way. I think the wind and clouds of that day served as the catalyst you mention, encouraging my thoughts to flow.

TheChieftess said...

Wonderfully written Petrea!!

altadenahiker said...

Melancholy has magic.

Katie said...

Before reading your text I thought this photo had a very Midwestern feel to it (having spent my childhood as a Hoosier). Amazing that you had such a mature and memorable moment as a 15 year old. I can't remember ever having profound thoughts like that as a kid, although at age 8 (I've been told) I said to my mom one day, "Eight is is the age of understanding." Yeah right.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Chieftess.

That it does, Hiker. That's why it gets such a cool word to describe it.

I didn't have thoughts like that every day, Katie. I'm sure that's why it stands out in my memory.

Susan Campisi said...

What a lovely memory, beautifully written. This weather does bring on the melancholy mood. I think that's why I like it so much.

mad men season 1-4 dvd said...

Stunning photo and great piece!

Petrea said...

Me too, Susan. I like summer, but this weather is making my brain work.

Thanks, mad men.

Ms M said...

Beautifully written.... :)