I am reading the novel, Tell The Wolves I Am Home, by Carla Rifka Brunt. It is the story of how a young girl navigates the terrain of her world after she loses her favorite Uncle to AIDS. This particular passage spoke to me: “I felt like I had proof that not all days are the same length, not all time has the same weight. Proof that there are worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds, if you want them to be there.”
The cadence of that passage rang in my head yesterday. On the drive home, I caught a glimpse of the sun setting behind the mountains. My mind recounted what occurred during the past weekend. The colors of Holi splattered on Saturday as a friend hosted a fun color party at their home. My daughter enjoyed grabbing powdered blues and pinks and throwing them without considering the consequences. The colors created a burst of energy that landed like rainbows on faces and clothes of those who surrounded us. Festive and fun, the music played in the background. In one corner, an older couple danced, in another area, children pushed each other on the swings. Spring announced itself in full glory and glee in this tiny piece of the world. The weight of this day felt light and joyful.
The next day, I did two things. I walked through a hospital floor to visit a friend’s daughter in the hospital. As I entered the hospital, I saw a man walk out with a two bags of clothes and a noticeable tension on his face. While I pushed the elevator button, I witnessed a woman pushing a young boy on a hospital bed. The little boy looked at me. In that brief exchange, I considered the weight of his day. How was time moving for him? What was the rhythm of his days? Anytime I am in a hospital my mind gravitates toward the number of times we accompanied my father to the hospital and how often we became fixtures in a building that for so many years was just another structure that we passed by on the highway. In those moments, the weight of the day felt so heavy and burdened and time strung us like we were puppets. Nothing appeared to be in our control.
I carried that feeling with me as I drove to my next destination. As I steered my car into another lane, the weight of the day seem to shift in an opposite direction. My mind focused on the road and the anticipating of meeting a friend’s new baby. When I walked into her place, the smells of baby powder, bright toys, and blankets greeted me. Holding her little baby, the goodness felt palpable and energizing. Her little limbs kicked and her eyes darted from whatever caught her attention. In the background, her mother called her name and in that little glimmer, I caught the love a new mother experiences when she interacts with her newborn. The weight of her world encompasses beginnings, hope, and unconditional love.
It always hits me that as one person is experiencing a joy, another person maybe dealing with physical or emotional pain. The weight of everyone’s day is different. And not all time is measured the same. Some days will pass without notice, while other moments will languish and linger. The colors of joy, the sadness of that young boy, and the hope contained in a newborn – all these are worlds that topple onto one another. Each carry a different weight.
That is a beautiful passage from the book. Thank you for sharing it, Rudri. I hadn’t heard of the book.
The weight of days differ as well as the same day weighs in separately for each of us. This is profound when one begins to ponder it. Thank you for the food for thought today.
I am so grateful the quote resonated with you. Pondering these words certainly offers so much to contemplate.
This is a beautiful thought, Rudri; I hadn’t thought of our days as being weighted but you are exactly right. I sometimes too think about what might be happening to or for people that I don’t know…that in my moments of happiness and privilege someone is having a terrible day, or terrible months and years. And certainly in any given year my days are all weighted differently. I think that if I think of it that way – that what feels heavy for me now may feel lighter tomorrow – I can be happier and less anxious.
One example that occurred in my own life happened in the last few years. We were celebrating my daughter’s 5th birthday. At the same time, a man decided to open fire in a grocery parking lot during a Gabrielle Giffords political rally. A young girl died the same time my daughter celebrated her birthday. The stark contrast has given me pause many, many times.
I experienced this sensation when I was reporting to the hospital late at night to be induced with my first son. We met an acquaintance in the hallway, and found out that her husband (who had been suffering from a very aggressive cancer for a few months) was passing away. Such sadness… in the midst of our joy.
Oh, Sarah. How heartbreaking. Happiness for one, maybe sorrow for another. Those two emotions play out everyday all across the world. The thought of this kind of balance is startling.
That is such a wonderful quote…”not all time has the same weight”. As your post points out, the weight of time can shift within the space of one day. Each moment we encounter can tip the balance.
I think I realized this when I was a young mother with two children and my husband was back in college. We were struggling to make ends meet and I was always stressed and unhappy about paying bills and putting food on the table. Then a couple we knew faced a tragedy. They had just arrived home from a vacation. Their two-year-old son ran to look for the family cat. He opened the basement door to a dark stairway with an open rail. As he started down the stairs, he fell off the side under the railing, cracking his head open on the concrete floor. He died in the hospital a couple of days later. Since that time, I have always been aware that the weight of my day is not the same as someone else’s.
Before that happened, I might have moaned how I wish I could take a vacation; instead of realizing that I had many things to be grateful for. That family’s tragedy helped me put life in perspective. Some things definitely have more weight than others. Some weight is full of hope and happiness – and some weight is full of doubt and sadness. As the quote states: “worlds and worlds and worlds on top of worlds”.
What a horrific tragedy for that family. I wonder how they moved forward after witnessing such a inconceivable heart wrenching event.
We carry our experiences and they influence our perceptions of the small and big things that occur in our life. I know that before losing my father to cancer, time’s movement didn’t bother me as much. Now, I am keenly aware of time’s tick and that much of what we experience is so transient. It is all so complex.
I, too, wonder how they moved forward. They put on a brave face in public. Maybe it was too painful to do anything else. Sometimes well-intended sympathy just makes suffering and grief harder to bear – if that is even possible. I lost touch with them (we move a lot).
Your words always inspire me to look at things in a new way. Thank you.