Shadows across the porch

Avery Ashwill - Brazil


April 2, 2013

I see time in the shadows moving across my porch, and smell time elapse as the bread bakes in the oven. But I only feel time when I realize that I am bumping into seconds and minutes and days. Or when I’m getting closed in by weeks and pounding on the doors of month.

Knock, knock, knock. The door swings open. Hello March! It’s Me. Yes, I was wondering if January was home? What’s that? He won’t be back for awhile? Okay, I’ll come back next year, thanks March. And the door shuts and I barely notice.

And so, when the Global Citizen Year team came and visited me in early March, they asked me how I felt about the time I had left in Brazil. Now that it’s almost April, I would like to revise my answer:

At the Texas Rodeo, amongst all the chaos, there are salt water taffy machines. Huge ones that stretch and bend and pull the Easter-colored taffy. They seem so methodical and poised, wringing and throwing the taffy on top of itself. Sometimes I feel as if I am bending time in the way that the machines pull the taffy. My powers manifest themselves in how fast the hours melt away each day. On Saturdays I stretch time, but I let Tuesdays get squished back into themselves. Still at the end of the week I wonder where all the slowed down time went.

I have found over the last six months that I am a poor timekeeper. I not only underestimate the amount of time that has passed by weeks or even months, I also tend to overestimate the amount of time I have left before I return to The States. Thankfully, I’m not the only one. Studies show that we’re all terrible judges of passing time. So we’re not going crazy when we say New Year’s Eve felt like last week.

My days here are numbered. It is cut and it is dry. There is no way to slice 12 days to make them longer. There are ways, however, to keep myself sane. Remembering that time depends on how I count it tends to help. I also decided last month that it is a crime to say “If I had the time…” Because being obsessed with time will not buy me more time. I understand now that time is more precious than I ever imagined. Precious like Mom’s special dinners on Thursday nights or slowly savoring a cup of coffee on the back porch.

I learned today that “time’ is the most used noun in the English language. What time is it? How much time do you have left? Are you too trapped by the tedious tick tock ticking of the thing we call time?

Avery Ashwill