Sunday, March 11, 2012

wet reality

We live by the calendar. Regardless of who you are, how much money you make, or where you live your measurement of time is the year. Whether that means you’re cranking up towards the September Issue or corn shucking: your timeline is based on 12 months of constantly rotating 30-day cycles you will never escape, even in death. When you die people will mark it by the day and month as they did your birth. We are an animal that only understands time through numbers. The notion that dates aren’t related to time is nearly inconceivable, a system as undisputable as rain.

I was born on July 10th 1982.
There’s a thunderstorm in the distance.

If those two sentences both sound like factual statements, then you understand my point perfectly. But that first sentence? Darling, we made that up. Human beings decided how to measure cycles in the earth and this was the system proven over time. It is handy for record keeping, holy days, and rites of passage. It isn’t real like a thunderstorm though. Go back far enough, long before we spoke to each other, when the idea of agriculture was as far away in our primitive minds as Disneyland. Then you can understand. We invented time. Earth invented thunderstorms. Thunder and Lightening are beyond collective recognition. Walk outside in one and feel the world shake, light up, and your body get wet as if it was tossed overboard. Feel four old elements, earth, air, fire, and water slam into your life.

This is real. Time comes and goes for certain, but it isn't marked by numbers. It is marked by birth, love, sex, death, dirt, blood and rebirth. Become a farmer and time changes, your birthday loses meaning. There isn't youth, middle age, and retirement. There is just alive.

Go ahead. Tell a caveman your birthday. He’ll just stare and ask what’s for dinner.

I am starting to prefer wet realities.

-excerpt from my current manuscript: Days of Grace
photo from


Blogger Odie Langley said...

I really do like your way of thinking and reasoning. Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

March 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Johnston said...

Beautiful reflection. Thank you for posting this.

March 11, 2012 at 11:48 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Beauriful, Jenna. Can't wait to read more. Have a great Sunday!

March 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

Beauriful, Jenna. Can't wait to read more. Have a great Sunday!

March 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

There isn't youth, middle age, and retirement. There is just alive.

This is a great sentence!!!!

March 11, 2012 at 2:37 PM  
Blogger Tara said...

Lovely! There's something deeply liberating and *right feeling* about being able to live this way - things happening when they should, as opposed to when the clock or calendar says. Even though I still have a paying job, I have the freedom to do things at their right time, and not really keep to any sort of schedule. I wish more people were so lucky - this one thing has changed my life.

March 11, 2012 at 3:10 PM  
Blogger Ivanhoe said...


March 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Project Somos Children's Village said...

Immersed in the Mayan culture and living so close to nature and its cycles, I SO relate to what you are saying. You would be inspired by them. -Heather Alicia

March 11, 2012 at 5:49 PM  
Blogger Lara said...

In agreement with Tara...and Ivanhoe! Good stuff.

March 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 13, 2012 at 11:32 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

Sincerely Enjoyed this read.
However, I would choose to respectfully submit another thought, that Time is as significant a factor in the agricultural and primal reality that pre-existed our modern day dates and years record keeping.

Without Time, how would we mark the changing of the seasons? The advancing of the crop,the morphing of the new moon into the full moon every fortnight, the change from rainy season to dry (then back again later), and, for those of us in northern climes, the summer heat to winter chill?

If we want to look at historical Time, let's consider the author of Genesis, who recognized God for choosing and marking the passing of time with days and nights, culminating with the completion of creation on the seventh day (on which He rested).

Not to be one sided as well, but the author of Ecclesiastes writes

Ecclesiastes 3
"Everything on earth
has its own time
and its own season.
There is a time
for birth and death,
planting and reaping... "

Of course, it's possible I've completely ms-understood your thesis.

I'm looking forward to your next book, having recently devoured Barnheart. Don't let my opinion here derail or discourage your trains of thought.


March 13, 2012 at 11:33 PM  

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