Monday, August 07, 2006

Compressing Time

I'm in Vermont for a few days because my grandmother is failing, and I've come up to say good-bye. Because I tried to fly up over the weekend at the last minute (same day travel), I ended up only being able to find a reasonable flight on Southwest into Albany NY. I rented a car from there.

I find it both odd and comfortable to come home. Driving, especially up from the south, is always interesting--here is this linear road (I-87, 22A, 7, 2, 2A, or the roads that connect to them--73, 74, 125, 15) that takes you from one place to another over a specific interval of time, yet when I'm on them, emotionally I'm in three or four different parts of my life at once. All of these different pieces get compressed: the continuum from birth through college graduation, and then various trips back in different periods--graduate school, wedding planning, home for Christmas, home for part of the summer, home with my kids, and on and on.

And all of these roads have various layers of memories attached to them. For example, 22A, where the cat would inevitably lose it and get sick when I traveled home from NYC during grad school, the Mobil station where Dad and I would often stop for gas (as it's the only one for miles), the Half Way House diner (half way between Fairhaven and Vergennes) where Rebecca used to like to run off and eat at during college, although I've never eaten there. The trip to Benson's Landing to catch the lake tour that we missed. The realization that either 74 or 125 would take me into Middlebury.

The old camp road, or so I refer to it mentally, that ran from Essex Junction to Clay Point Rd., which was where my grandparents' lake house was. Old route 2? New route 2 has little to recommend it, but it is a lot faster to get up to the islands. The old camp road is where my brothers and I used to practice our skills at accelerating and passing old men and old ladies driving just the speed limit or under it. Anyone who's ever driven in VT knows how winding the old roads are, how you do (or should) actually pay attention to the double solid, dotted, and one solid/one dotted passing guidelines. I was thinking as I drove up that somebody actually does put some kind of care into thinking them through--there are so few places to pass, so many blind curves and blind hills.

This time home, the fools at Avis let me have a Grand Am, which is always nice because it certainly has better acceleration than any car I've ever actually owned. I think it can move 20mph in less than 5 seconds. This is a big help taking advantage of those passing areas.

I could talk about other roads, but it would be boring to whomever actually reads this blog--and long. But I find myself traveling these same roads a lot, periodically, and the time compression, the time layering on them can be very intense. It made me start to wonder if that's been an impetus behind my poetry because I find myself compressing various 'times' in them a lot--bringing together various lines of time past with time present. Different from lyric, which supposedly exists in time suspended.

1 comment:

mj said...

Sorry to hear that your grandmother is failing. As for the compression of time - isn't a drive back home the perfect way to experience it?