I have been struck lately by the way in which different hours in the day and different periods in life seem to have very different weight. The morning hours speed by before I can even catch hold of them, while afternoon hours march on ever so slowly. Unfortunately, those slippery morning hours are my most productive, so I am forever trying to figure out how to tackle the bulk of my to-do list before they slip away. Monday time feels so very different from Friday time, and then, weekend time is another thing altogether.
And when I think of time on the scale of a lifetime, I am amazed at how the briefest moments can rise above the rest in technicolor memory, while all the rest seem fuzzy in black and white. I must have spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours researching and writing papers as a student, but I can’t pin down any one of those hours in particular. Each was a tiny drop in the bucket toward the slow and steady process of learning to make an argument, tell a story, or craft a sentence. Those hours were only significant because they were many.
Instead, I remember a handful of conversations on couches or in coffee shops and the brief exchanges of empathy that made all the rest of it easier. I remember the food and drinks shared as a currency of love and friendship and understanding. I remember a certain slant of sunlight hitting the table, finally, one spring afternoon.
In comparison to many months and years spent living in one place, it feels like just a few weeks spent traveling changed everything.
There must have been hundreds of walks along the same path to and from campus, but on one in particular, a classmate caught up with me and not so very long after, it seems, became my husband. We’ve been married nearly six months now, and sometimes it seems like only a moment has passed. On the other hand, I wonder whether perhaps we’ve always been together.
The hardest thing about time, I think, is knowing in the moment which of those moments count and which will fade quickly, which to hang onto tightly and which to let go of gracefully.