The great big tumbling of time


I sit on the porch and watch September roll in. It’s a welcome party of one. One girl in her purple socks, her feet curling into their warmth. Knees tightly pressed together and eyes fixed on the changing skies picking up the hints of red and mulberry that encircle the edges of twilight. It is more pronounced now. I see it and I leisurely pull it into my space. It means something. Seasons are revolving again. Coming round and going over. A big invisible turn we often miss because we are too busy doing what the living do.

Even the air smells different, the crispy, cool and fresh scent of evening leaves its traces on my skin. It’s time for a new perfume, the turning of the earth dictates so. I am thinking opening notes of spring water, green mandarin with a heart of white peony and jasmine.

I do this every year – wait for September. Only Septemebr gets this kind of special treatment. I don’t know. There is something about the month that pulls at my heartstrings. And I think of renewal and rebirth. I think of women and grace.

Women because I love them with a fierceness that is too big for my body. I am my mother’s daughter. A woman of faith and courage.

Women are mothers and sisters. Bestfriends and aunties. Wives and grandmothers. They carry things in their bosoms holding them tight and close – healing and covering in ways we will never be able to fully name. And they embody some of the grace too, in the way they are hewn from the ground. In the way they arrive and move through the world.

But the kind of grace that comes barreling alongside September in my mind is the kind that holds us even when the only thing we can be is a solid mass of rawness and nerve. When we mess up and have no clue what to do with ourselves.

And a lot of this powerful grace is offered to us in the passing of time.

A year ago in September, I was writing about women and autumn in Chicago and moonbeams. I was also fastening together the last dangling bits of my then mending heart. See, I had met this boy in the year before last Septemeber. He looked very much like the beginning of my world. And so when he dangled glimpses of his heart in front of me, naturally I reached out to grab them. I wanted them. All of them. Inside of me. I wanted them badly. But one day he said,

“I can’t figure out where you fit in my life”.

That boy broke my heart. But that boy didn’t know the grace that time would offer me – the good stuff that has become the woman I am because he hurt me.

It is not always clean and precise, this walk through grace. Sometimes the great big tumbling of time drags us through mud pits and dark caves and raging infernos. But we arrive. We most certainly arrive. To the point where grace finishes its work. And what was not becomes born. And time makes way for healing and it stitches together meaning for us.

I sit and wait for September. I can hear my watch ticking away. Every tick so quiet, so small, so seemingly inconsequential. So incomprehensible that the movement of a tiny tick reflects the big, great tumbling of time in and out of hours, days, months, years, decades, generations, milleniums, centuries, lifetimes.  And whenever and whereever time unwraps itself grace is always there in the fold. You may not see it but it’s there. In the silvery gray that begins to appear in your hairline; in the way your hand tightly and fully clasps another hand not being afraid of not wanting to let go; in the way having your way becomes less important than “Im sorry”.

With time we begin to understand these things, these things that take the shape of love, relationships, happiness, grief, life.

With time we begin to understand that time is really just another form of grace.

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