Sunday, March 29, 2009


1: a table listing important events for successive years within a particular historical period

B is working on a timeline for school. It's a pretty straightforward project. She is to put a penny from each year since she's been born on a poster and then write one fact from each year on the timeline. But I find myself wondering whether time actually is a straight line. I know logically that it is, but I don't think that's how we experience it. I think time seems to rush onward during some seasons and drag slowly during others. Then it loops back on itself and you wonder whether you've done this before.

One of my favorite books is The Time Traveler's Wife. It captures this sense of time folding over on itself as it tracks the relationship of Henry (the time traveler) and Claire (his wife). It's told in a unique way and I think we remember our relationships much like this book relates. J and I have been married for over 12 years and I don't remember our time together in a linear fashion. My memories leap from one moment to the next, linked not chronologically but emotionally or by some hidden mental trigger. We spent the first year of our marriage in Columbus, OH, so those memories are fixed in a separate place in time, while everything else swirls together, merges and separates.

Even as I help B look back on her seven years of life, it is not linear. I can tell you wonderful qualities she possesses or funny stories or touching moments shared, but none of these will escape my lips or my fingers in the nice, neat way a timeline is laid out.

I think if I were to try to create a timeline of my life, I might have to create a time loop instead. It would be fascinating to see where the overlaps occur. How did a poster I owned in college impact my current view of what it means to be an artist? How do the cumulative experiences J and I have result in a marriage? Where do I want the next curve in the loop to take me?

1 comment:

Variations On A Theme said...

Just posted about O's timeline, too! I went through the baby book and photo albums and cried. How quickly it has gone. It's all going by too fast. I'm achy about it.