Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hours Partitioned by Patresa Hartman

I am grateful for time, but with only one eye open, and my teeth are most certainly clenched. For I wish to live timeless, limitless, rootless. I wish to free float and mingle eye-level with birds and hang gliders. I wish to hang glide without the cumbersome apparatus.

The notion is romantic to me, and I have always been particularly susceptible to romantic notions. Not the candle-light, hand-holding kind, but the impressionistic watercolor kind. The barefoot kind. The tall reeds and endless sky kind. I want to be whimsy on legs that barely touch ground. I want to fit nicely within the mold labeled Free Spirit.

It's childish; I know this. I do not like responsibility; "You," I say to whomever dares to impose order, "are not the boss of me." Then I limp home with twigs in my hair, pretending to be royalty and ridiculously dressed.

But as I grow farther from childhood, I understand that time is good to me. It is spinach -- canned nemesis when I was six, nine, and eleven; now appreciated fresh sautee'd with pine nuts at thirty-four.

There is never enough; there is too much; there is exactly and precisely the correct amount. I shake my fist at you, Time, because you are always right, and it is infuriating.

An educator, I am saying goodbye to summer and its three months of delicious aimlessness. I will set my alarm on Monday, and my body will reaccustom to jarring Awake-Right-Now-ness. The hours of wander are waning, and I mourn.

But I understand -- teeth clenched, allow me to remind -- that it is a worthwhile transition. When I pull the twigs out of my hair and let go of childish notions of who I want to be, I have come to understand what I am. I do better with structure, with increments of hours partitioned between to-do lists. I feel safer; I create more; I beat myself up less; and the kitchen is always cleaner. With too much time on my hands, I sink into stupors and waste.

Time, as all wise grandmothers, understands the need for boundaries. Cry as forlorn summer-loving children might, she remains steadfast, unconditional to provide exactly for our needs when all we do is want want want.

*Find an audio recording of this post, read by the author, at the bottom of the page in Rose & Thorn's podcast.

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Angie Ledbetter said...

What a lovely post! Great writing/thoughts as always. I hope you still get a few twigs in your hair even though the school bells are ringing. Christmas Holidays will be here soon! ;)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Get out of my head, P - you keep posting my thoughts and it's scaring me *laugh*

but yes, lovely lovely lovely post

Barbara Quinn said...

Sweet time..there never is enough of it is there? Loved your thoughts. And stay the romantic you are since it's good for the rest of the cynical world to see that life can be romantic.

Patresa Hartman said...

angie: i will keep one twig in your honor.

kat: have you found any odd lumps under lampshades? i bugged your thoughts during my visit this spring. ha!

barbara: do you suppose time is mathematically subjective? sometimes it feels like too much; other times too little.

Ami said...

I have always loved your lyrical writing. And now that I've listened to you read your work (your voice is somehow exactly as I imagined it), I love it even more.

Time = spinach. Perfect.

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