Thyme

Thyme
"I might even throw up a fresh shoot or two in defiance of a regulating authority hardly worth believing in."

Our thyme plant expanded to several times its original size before I brought it inside for overwintering. Its tips turned brown though its stalks still seem viable and green. It's assumed a rather wiry habit, tough to harvest and difficult to strip, stems more like twigs than herbs. I remain fully aware that I fiddled with time, attempting a premeditated extension of an admittedly over-shortened growing season. The whole herb pot, a slat wood peck basket, now overflows with mutating herbals. Relocated into a sunny kitchen corner in front of the sink, sure, but missing wind, rain, and the temperature shifts that once kept its contents pliable and young. The contents have entered another stage of life, on the first hints of life support, destined to die, but not quite yet. The tarragon yellowed in protest, though it also threw up a few fresh shoots as if mistaking this recent life change for Spring. It will most certainly never see another Spring.

Daylight Savings Time seems like a godsend to me, its annual disappearance always more a setback than a simple falling back into regular time, for there never was any such thing as regular time.
One of the chief paradoxes of life springs from our chief regulating rhythm being so fungible in practice. A myriad of real times simultaneously exist, the steadily ticking kitchen clock only ever privy to a single one of them. Even within a securely observed zone of time, the underlying rhythm gets bi-annually disrupted, once to assume its summer position, then back into the dark and unpromising winter position again. Springing forward in Spring, time leans into the sun, chasing and extending it well into the evening. Shrinking backward in Fall, time recedes away from itself, dragging evening back into mid-afternoon, a faithless and disappointing act. Time hiccups as we practice it, disrupting and disturbing.

My clocks will be unreliable for a few days, not a totally unappreciated reminder of the way things actually are. I will not be able to consistently confirm my suspicions until sometime later next week, after all the forgotten clocks get reset and my more dominant body clock adjusts itself. Then it will be back to the persistent illusion that time remains regular, reliable, and reassuring, its most recent reversal relegated to the space where some behavior doesn't represent the underlying reliability. Time's reputation of inexorably moving forward will have been once again demonstrated as false, but this latest infraction will be forgiven as a rare unrepresentative example. We'll go on relying upon this intermittently unreliable regulator.

I believe time to have always been a liar, a con-man collaborator. I'm old enough now to have seen several of its more obvious shortcomings, and I've grown to distrust it almost completely. I accept my own accountability, for I have colluded with time to convince myself that I at times held too much of its stuff and also that I somehow possessed far too little. I've used time as a handy excuse when I felt too obtuse to own my own ornery obstinance, saying that I couldn't make time for an unwanted meeting or complaining that an excess of hollow-seeming time had rendered me bored to the gills. Time never had anything to do with either of those crimes. I was doing the time myself.

I, too, seem to have grown a little crispy along my stem ends, hair grown white from the original mouse brown, wrinkles overtaking a once smooth brow. I do not know how I accomplished any of that, exchanging rail thin for quite a little bit more fat around my middle. I might accuse time of stealing what was once simply mine, but time could hardly be blamable. I've watched time move capriciously yet still somehow expect her to regulate me and mine. She's a crappy constant and an even worse connector. Just earlier this morning my mind wandered backward sixty years, returning without a scratch, while time seemed distracted falling backwards. I can move most of me through time like mercury slips through a penny, shining up its surface and leaving no trace of my passage. I might be on the first stages of life support now, far past Spring and sequestered out of the encroaching late Fall and Winter weather, but my roots recognize a certain absence of their accustomed vitality of Summer. I can see almost everything I could see outside on the deck from this sunny kitchen corner window without suffering passing time's more troubling extremes. I might even throw up a fresh shoot or two in defiance of a regulating authority hardly worth believing in.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved








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