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August 5, 2019

Time is undeniable, except it is denied by humans every day.

I am one of them. The deniers. I work to make “new” buildings and words, my wife and I dedicated our lives to having children with “new” lives. Every headline declares “New”(s).

Recent is not “New”, no matter how hideous or exhilarating the recent is.

I have come to realize in my 7th decade that I will never, that no one I know, will ever escape their first decade, and perhaps the second. We all deal deal with our first decade of being formed, but for those of us who lived brutal first decades the efforts are often based in denial, or at best, change. I know a great many others who simply wish to perpetuate their early lives, not escaping them, but recreating them.

Denial or escape you cannot deny history. And time is history made present and future.

Metaphors are dangerous things. They often ignore deep realities embodied in the metaphor that complicate the connection made between that metaphoric thing, idea, word, and what really was present in its reality in order to make a point.

But sometimes there is apt undesigned connection that becomes revelation. There are metaphors of accident and coincidence, unseen until noticed, but real in their noticing.

In our denial of our first decades, my wife and I opted to effort finding a place for our children that would be a meaningful touchstone from their first decades. It worked, we find the place shown at the top of this piece.

We are now, after 24 years amazed that the 7 days of time, once a year, becomes a permanent full living memory, independent of time, every week we are there at this touchstone. Views, smells, sounds, buildings, spaces connect us across these decades, and thus in denial of our first.

But time is not “perennial” it is ever changing. Because, despite our hopes, time is change.

So each change in our touchstone is seen with excitement and sadness, as any thought of control becomes dimmer with each year our bodies and the realities around them are in a place, with us, where time binds and destroys everything.

Painting is not necessary for pressure treated wood to last 40 or more years. But memory exists of things before pressure treated wood. The touchstone place we visit was built 90 years ago. It once had dirt under its wing, but when the lakeside crumbled the house was saved by new support, and had a new access created perhaps 60 years ago, accessed by what I surmised would become wood decking and railings rotted to the point of being unsafe perhaps 30 years ago.

So when the rotting wood wax replaced with wood filled with chemicals to prevent rot, it only needed painting to visually connect the new wood with the old wood that needed paint on it not to rot.

It was as the picture shows above, a deck of maroon painted wood.

Until this year. The paint wore away, some, and a new cosmetic coat was added, now Grey. I am thinking that is just what they had.

It was nice. But a water bound inspection showed that the paint they had run out for full coverage, so an unseen bit (top right under the deck handrail) evidences that humans made do in the beating tide of history – as did the restricting I witness about 15 years ago on the undercarriage.

But something was different at the entry to the porch and place, as seen from from the land side above.

In all of this a human saw something.

Someone saw the beauty of time. The painter saw, maybe just because he or she had little paint, that the inside, away from the lake side, did not need paint everywhere. So history is still present. Time is present.

The light pose was left in its original state of 30 years standing.

It has the original paint at the point anyone comes to this touchstone. It is 30 years there, and yet, is embraced by last spring.

But it is more. The new holds the existing. The railing, now painted against the unpainted is newly holding the post. It is the existing as made, new remade, in a dance of time, that is not lost, but present.

Time is alive, and memory, too. It is future in hope and fear, but time is there, everywhere, whether we like it or not. In buildings, in paint, in us.

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