somewhere between sunrise and sunset
two golden hours, each set with
sixty diamond minutes. No reward is
offered, for they are gone forever.
– Horace Mann –
I lost two hours in the canyon behind the Hotel Santa Mission Catavina.
I wandered with my dog, now wise to dropped cochillo barbs into the late afternoon. I saw palm trees to the south beyond the huge smooth granite boulders and towering saguaro cactus.
We followed the graceful palms past a gravestone, elegant in its desert garden solitude. Drawing a line from the tomb to the grotto a house of rubble was intersected. We walked down a gravelly wash following cloven footprints to the rubble which still supported a window. Through the window, on the far side of the arroyo two tall untrimmed palms flanked a cave like opening. A generous floor of white soft sand held a stream of unexpected flowing water.
I felt I had walked through a history; from the grave, to the house, to the cave. I also felt like I was in Egypt. Something about the sand and files of unpruned palms.
No footprints there but the cloven cow prints and the barefoot prints of a child .
The place was surely enchanted. I most certainly was.
“I am the river Niger. Hear my waters. I ripple and stream and run. I am fully flexible…
My waters are the first sperm of the world when the earth was but an embryo and life burst forth like popcorn.
It is life you hear stretching its wings in my water.
I have gossiped with the crocodile and run emeralds through their course.
I have laughed at the hyenas jokes and heard his dry cackle at twilight.
I have purified the saliva of sun drenched lions.
I have washed the wounds of decorated warriors.
Do you hear me talking?
I am the river Niger. I sleep in your veins…”
Excerpted in part from poem by playwright Joseph A Walker from his 1972 Play. A powerful uniting piece for black Americans, the river continues through the “cold belly of he Atlantic and on into Harlem”
When I submitted my saliva for DNA tracing in a National Geographic project, my river went back to Africa too, but Physicists tell us that time really DOESNT flow like a river, that that is an illusion perpetuated by the clock like workings of our bodies to the very cellular level…diurnal patterns, monthly hormones, and our very brains have “interval timers” that account for changes in the way we perceive the passage of time. Interesting personally, is that this interval timer is run by cortisol and dopamine, and they have noted changes in folks with Parkinson’s, ADD, seasonal affective disorder as well as cancer. I’m just sayin, perhaps there is a reasonable explanation for these wonderful periods when time seems nonexistant. They say it really is just an idea, a placeholder, just like money, having no value of its own without the value we decide to place on it.
Today is Christmas, a marker of time filled with black and white photos, many cheering memories and a little nostalgia. Today also marks my first Christmas away from home.
From me to you, through time and space, have a peaceful holiday and enjoy your time, however much or little it seems to you to be!