Flickering Forward Into the Past

Scan = Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

More than ever before in my life, time is on my mind. My Rosemary often says that all I do is to look back into the past. She goes further and tells me, “You live in the past.”

I have a few small facts about her. I know that by the time she was 16 and living in New Dublin, Ontario she was the smartest girl in class (I believe she was bussed to Brockville as New Dublin had one church and one cemetery and not much else.) Rosemary played the organ at church services. She left New Dublin as soon as she could on a scholarship to Queens University. I know that in 1967 she brought a class of students to Mexico City. I married her in 1968.I believe that somewhere in my memory she mentioned one boyfriend.

She has a sister who was sent by their parents to check me out and I wondered if they even knew that I ate with a fork and knife.

And I know not more than the above. My rosemary is private about her past. She says she is not social.

Of my past Rosemary knows just about everything and every day I load her up with more stuff. She does read this blog every once in a while.

More than ever before in my life, time is on my mind.

After 30 years in a garden I see trees that I planted that may have been two feet tall now some up to 50 feet. I have mature hostas that I have not moved or split since I plunked them in the ground in the early 90s. I look at some of them and instantly see the faces of American friends who gave them to me or urged me to buy them at a long gone National Hosta Convention. Some of these friends are dead.

When we first started growing roses the President of the Vancouver Rose Society recommended a few plants. She then ordered them from nurseries in England and back East. Some prospered some died. Our President’s house in Southlands was sold and our President now has no memory of who she might have been. For her, time is now.

Going into my garden is a time machine. I can see where a plant originally was and where it is now. Now that we are leaving the garden and house I am trying to find a place for them in the scheme of things. I look at the trees that are too big to me moved and I know they will precede my own final reckoning with time.

But in the middle of a sleepless night (I have been getting many of these and Captain Beefheart’s lyric from Ashtray Hearts comes to mind, “Somebody’s had too much to think.”) I had a revelation about time. It came about that I was reading Ian Rankin’s 2013 Saints of the Shadow Bible. My VPL receipt on this large print novel (the only one they had!) serves as my book marker.

I am reading a book that was delivered to the VPL on May 2014. Perhaps Rankin finished it in 2012. I took it out last week. As I read it I turn pages. What I read yesterday (at one time my present) is now today’s past. As I turn pages the instant I read a page it was and no longer is. It is, was, a past, a receding past. I can stop the recession by closing the book and telling myself I will never finish it. While this may terminate my relation with Rebus, my own involvement in time, like the pages of Saints of the Shadow Bible, flicker past toward and ending unknown (at least right now).

Thinking in my bed about tomorrow is not thinking about the past, but the thought itself of that future, is now past. It may be an unresolved or resolved future, but it is still in the past.

I cannot argue with my Rosemary but I often think of my mentors, of my parents, of my mother’s voice, of my father’s smell of whiskey and Player’s Navy Cuts. I think of the moment I first saw that blonde bombshell in a mini-skirt (my Rosemary) and I know I have the power to turn my book upside down and flicker the pages forward into a past that is as real as this present that is no more as I place this period. I have written the above, now Wednesday, October 15. Because I have a few holes in September and in the beginning of October I am madly filling in the gaps. So with this blog and a few more I have the ability to place my today blog into that past, the date you see above. Or I could have placed this blog for next year and if I had it far enough into a future I might self-publish it posthumously. Not bad for immutable time!

Link to: Flickering Forward Into the Past

Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.

Into Bunny Watson. I am a Vancouver-based magazine photographer/writer. I have a popular daily blog which can be found at:http://t.co/yf6BbOIQ alexwh@telus.net