Time

Time is a funny thing. It is supposed to be a constant force, marching on without regard to its effect on us mortals. Though it may be a relentless enemy, when we are hurting time can be our friend. Time heals it is said. Father Time’s advance is supposed to be steady, but there are circumstances in which it seems to slow down or race ahead uncontrollably. For example, prior to my trip to Denver I needed to get my truck maintained and time seemed to stand still while I waited the estimated hour for the work to be completed. Occasionally time flies by unnoticed like the six years that have gone by since I have had lunch with my old friend. For the fifteen years that we met weekly for lunch, time was steady and the years long and memorable. Yet in these difficult years since Tricia’s diagnosis, almost half that time has slipped by without notice.

Yesterday’s trip to Denver was a compacted combination of all those phenomenon. Had to stop in the Springs to pick up my final check at the medical company where I don’t work anymore. It seemed like yesterday when I made my first trip there to take my tests and learn of the company’s policies and procedures. My time there was like a vapor and now I will never see any of those people again. Before long, it will be like working for that company didn’t happen at all.

Colorado Springs was the same, as I left town time seemed constant. I see it every week and it hasn’t changed much over the years. Same with I25 on my way up to Denver. The route is mostly unchanged and the effects of time seem normal. The freeway is being widened near Park Meadows. It was being widened when I moved away and it is being widened again. Nothing unusual here. But when I made my turn off onto Arapaho road I began to notice some odd feelings. Arapaho and the Valley Freeway looked all different to me. I made a wrong turn and had to make a loop under the bridge and try it again. Home Depot is still there and I remembered that is where to turn so I pulled in off of Clinton Street, but the shopping center looked different and I didn’t see JD’s where I remembered it to be. It seemed like a lifetime since I had been there.

However as I approached Home Depot, I found my old parking place and spotted Dennis’ car there as well. Suddenly I felt as if I had been there last week, as if no time had passed at all. Dennis looked the same, save for a few more gray hairs and we quickly picked up where we left off. We still have the same friends and interests and a common past. Soon we were discussing our internet problems, some things never change. However, as we discussed megabytes and gigabytes and data rates we had to laugh. If someone would have described these numbers to us thirty years ago it would have sounded about as likely as Star Trek. Thirty years ago we had an acoustical modem that you used by sticking a telephone receiver into rubber lined holes . Our data rate then was a whopping 100 bits per second. Then we upgraded to 300 and then 1200. Later 9600 bits per second was warp speed. The five million dollar mainframe we worked on had 65k of memory, not 65 megabytes, just 65k bits. We typed our code on card decks. Those times seem like a million years ago, maybe even another lifetime.

The time for lunch to end was upon us and just as always we sauntered into the parking lot and vowed not to let six more years pass. Leaving was as always, like it was just last week and we were on our way. But as I proceeded down Arapaho towards the east, time warped again. Everything is different. There are new businesses, new buildings, new roads and new signs. Even the intersection at Parker Road is different. Seemed like forever since I had been there. Parker too is quite different for the same reasons. Feels like much time has passed since the 20 years I lived there.

However, the instant I passed the town of Parker, I was jolted from the future to the past. South of Parker nothing has changed in six years. It was like I’d never left and I could have been driving down the road yesterday and I wouldn’t know any different today. My subdivision is also unchanged, the same deer are still standing around in the yards eating the grass and the forest along the street looks exactly like it did all those years ago. My old house is different though and I’m glad Tricia didn’t have to see it. We worked hard to make it look and feel like the mountains so the house was surrounded by rocks and trees and a beautiful rock garden in the center with a colorful crab apple tree in the middle. In the years we lived there some of our pines reached at least 50 feet. However, it appears the new owner doesn’t like trees. Majestic old pines chopped down and disposed of, the rock garden, the tree, the flowers, the juniper bushes all gone. Twenty years of loving attention to detail all wiped away. Now the house could be something transplanted straight out of the sterile  and monotonous neighborhoods of barren Aurora.

Finally, my destination. The storage unit to pick up my photography studio stuff, and the weirdest part of the entire journey. Here, time had stood completely still. I can still remember being miffed that my studio wasn’t making the trip. We were going to get a new start in the mountains, but it did not appear that my photography was going to be a part of it, and it wasn’t. The daily war on cancer soon consumed us and the years passed by quickly, almost like a blur. But now standing here looking at my backdrops, my wall prints, brochures and office equipment it seemed that time had stood completely still. Almost has if I had been transported out of my life and into someone elses for six years. But now I feel like Father Time has waited for me, patiently standing by while I dedicated the years to another person’s  needs. It was like I had been suddenly transported back to a life that has been faithfully awaiting my return. In fact it was like the clock had actually gone backwards six years to pick me up where I left off.

I don’t know if I will want to have a studio again, probably not since my interests have changed and I am more at home outdoors than in a studio. But I know one thing, my equipment wasn’t doing me any good up there with me down here. Time marches on and I am eager to find out what he has in store for me now.

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