Lately, when I catch the scent of rain and earth rising up, I am ten again. It’s Easter morning, the forsythia just blooming, and I sense my Mother moving somewhere nearby. I am innocent. Now, an old man packs my groceries, repacks the eggs with a tsk at a carton fallen on its side. I read his name: “Art.” My sweet grandfather’s name. Finished with his task, he regards me with a look of satisfaction and returns my smile. Now I am twelve, maybe, riding in the middle seat of an old red Ford with the stick shift knocking my bare, bony knees. My grandfather turns his face to me crinkled into a grin (I see every line, the shade of his blue, blue eyes), “Hungry for some ice cream, SusieQ?” Oh. My daughter sends me a video of her baby daughter talking to her, sounding out “hello,” and, I wonder how it all happened so fast, and how I might slow it down.
When the present becomes the past, when the unpassing of Time presses against the small of my back, I sit very still…wondering, wondering what I should do. What are these moments? Not merely memories. Time echoes? God reminding me of my life so far, or of my wide-eyed me? Or, that I should be still and wide-eyed again? Though, I wasn’t very still when I was wide-eyed.
Maybe all we are doing—or supposed to be doing—is searching our way back to the time, to the person we were at our most pure, just as we became aware of the world and souls around us…before we became so aware of ourselves. When the scent of rain and earth meant time to play.
Fast-write Writing Exercise: Set your timer for 2-5 minutes. Write about a moment when the present became the past. Maybe a scent reminded you suddenly of a scene from your past. Someone said something to you that sounded exactly like another moment in your life. etc.