Ravens and the grove
I've long had this sense that animals have a sense of time but no chronology. A family dog used to think he had had a walk if you turned around at the end of the road fo something you'd forgotten and came home again. Nine years ago it took us some while to train the local ravens to descend to our raven feeding platform and take scraps of food - either pickings from our own plates, of bought-in frankfurters. They developed a pattern of fly-pasts, swoops, observations from the tips of ponderosas, wary approaches by foot, snatch and grab of the food (some to be flown away to storage places), then often a hopping dance of celebration. More than six years on from the last such feed, a chicken carcase on the table, it took them less than half an hour to resort to the old patterns. They now fly past waiting for their daily hot dog. Six years, a day, it makes no difference.
Time is an odd construct for sure. For years, when I've started with a blank head and blank page to write something, 'time' was the first word I wrote down. James and myself are somewhat like those ravens, seeing good friends after six years and instantly falling into the same deep pattern of friendship and conversation, as though we had met the previous day.
I'm a writer, so clearly a great believer in narrative, and my books tend to have a chronological flow. It's true though that elements that seem historical suddenly pulse through to significance later on, and in memory the distant can become very present. The visit back here has been a process of loving and detaching. We'll leave here next week, and the whole assembly of homes, office, retreat space, acres of woodland, wetland and meadow, all our wildflowers and permaculture dams, will be on the market for the next owners to find their way to the place. It's another game with time, seeing if we can let something go yet still carry it with us.