The Echo of an Axe

There is, of course, no stronger force in the universe than the passage of time, regardless of what the scientists say.  Enough time, stacked up, has more power than the gravity of any star, more gusto than the hugest electromagnet.

I can’t stop buying old postcards at antique shops.  That may sound made up, but I’m serious (I’ve blogged about it before here.)  The more and more I look for them, the older ones I am capable of finding.  I’ve found a few from as far back as 1904, with messages written on them that sound like they could be from yesterday, but they’re from over a hundred years ago.  The person who wrote it is dead.  Their vacation, however marvelous, has been vacated from the scorecard of life.  Their fun in the sun is now just a scribble.  The postmarks have remained almost the same all this time, though.  That’s kind of amazing when you think about it.  One hundred years.  That’s a long time for anything to remain unchanged.

I write postcards to people, too.  Someday my vacations will be vacated by the steady march of inevitability, as well.  So it goes.

I like to buy vinyl records.  This is no secret.  For most of my time as a vinyl hobbyist, I’ve actually bought new music that is released on vinyl.  But recently, I’ve taken a shine to the older stuff.  When I pull that big black circle out of a deteriorating cardboard sleeve that smells of must, I imagine what it may have been through: maybe owned by ten different people, maybe just one who treasured it their whole life, maybe sold to three different used record stores, maybe a yard sale or two.  But what strikes me the most about these old records (I recently bought a record of Russian composer Dmitri Khachaturian’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra from 1942 for a buck from a Goodwill store) is how they seem to be stranded in time, holding their precious music in their grooves, waiting inert over the years for someone to pick them up, pull them out, and take the important final step of actually setting a needle down on them to unleash their precious cargo.  The music is always on there, but it can wait fifty years to be released.  It could wait longer if it had to.  I don’t understand where the music is when the needle isn’t down, but it’s there somewhere.  The record owns it, holds it tight to its chest.

If a historian or biographer were so inclined to write a book on my life and they chose to write about the period when I actually had love interests or “girlfriends”, one would find, I suspect, despite having had many trysts, you could narrow down my “major” love interests throughout my life to just three.  An argument could be made for a fourth, but you really don’t care about that.  I am now 35 years old, and all three of those major love interests have been over for a long time, and all-but forgotten, by myself and them too, I’m sure.  But somehow, the world conspired for two of them to get married last week.  The chances of it happening seem astronomical, and I’m sure they are.  I didn’t attend either wedding, though I was invited to both, but only because work and distance kept me away.  Too much time has passed for there to be any heartbreak involved for me in such ceremony.  But the way that such an event made me feel time was the real cruelty.  To make me go simultaneously back to both those relationships, and force my mind into tracing the arc of time from then to now…I have a great life, don’t get me wrong, but time is so long, it frightens me.  Like looking at the ocean from inside the basket of a very high hot air balloon.

I’m in my cardboard sleeve, holding my music close to my chest.

2 Responses to “The Echo of an Axe”

  1. Cory Warchola Says:

    This is beautiful Noodle. I love your writing. I wish I could say more, but you’ve left me speechless again.

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