Friday, April 10, 2015

Making Friends with Time

"In the cinema a director expresses his individuality first and foremost through his sense of time, through rhythm… Rhythm must arise naturally in a film, a function of the Director's innate sense of life and commensurate with his quest for time."
                                                                     -Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time

The rainy Blue Fox day stretches in both directions, lazy as a well-fed baby. My fingers knit a sleeve the color of the bay. The generator lets us ladies watch movies in fits and spurts. The howl of wind reminds us of the long, slitted scars in the trees; scars of cracks in bark from wild Shelikof winds. I kindle the banya fire. The stove is like an old woman, wizened, glowing through its worn sides. I take time with her, let her slowly light the moody wet wood. 

I light the fire, and check on it when I feel the wood slumping into coal. 1 hour. 2 movies. 27 knit rows on my aqua sleeve. The banya slowly warms, and half a day later I enter in the ancient rite of bathing, of being with friends in a sacred space for women.

In a place with so much history, we risk to feel small. A fox farm this was, a blue fox farm. On an island off Afognak no bigger than an hour's walk. Perhaps the fox farm was a cover for a distillery during prohibition, perhaps not. Later, a wintry home for Slim, who trapped and drank, probably not in that order. Now a place to gather, a place where nature is honored, where airplanes never fly. Where bottles and Styrofoam and all sorts of flotsam and jetsam wash up on shore, because no place is untouched anymore.

This history that extends further than I know doesn't make me feel small, nor grimly remind me of my mortality. Slim's grave seems perfect and reassuring in the backyard. There is a sense here that time is a friend. Time is a medium in which we can be ourselves, and become ourselves. In this sweet expanse of time, I can knit in rhythm with my breath, and my heart. I can let my mind and heart wander. I can throw a starfish back in the water. I can add a Japanese buoy from the beach into my window-sill shrine. I have time, even if it is just right now...