Notes from the Waxhaws

Walking through time

with 2 comments

Like a poem poorly written,

We are verses out of rhythm,

couplets out of rhyme,

in syncopated time…

~ Simon & Garfunkel, The Dangling Conversation

Once again, I find myself in the old city of St. Augustine this Saturday before Christmas. I like to arrive on foot, so my lodgings are on the far side of the Bridge of Lions. It was unusually cold and windy this morning, which made the hike over the bridge a bit bracing. With no definite plans for my walk, I began wandering aimlessly through the town…hoping for some inspiration to lead me on…or some curiosity to grab my attention. I walked the length of St. George Street…passing tourists who were ducking in and out of shops…with steaming cups of coffee in hand. And…far too many obviously homeless people, dejectedly sitting on benches with all of their earthly possessions held in beat up rucksacks or plastic bags on the ground at their feet. All under a crystalline blue sky…with the cloying scent of waffle cones wafting in the cold breeze.

It was at that moment that I heard music emanating from a nearby open doorway…the above verses of The Dangling Conversation. It set me wondering…and gave me a theme for my wandering. What I like best about walking the streets of St. Augustine doesn’t have anything to do with the tacky souvenir shops…the alligator farm…or the people dressed up as pirates. All of that can be amusing…but it’s only a thin veneer that has been hung on the old bones of what once was a real city…inhabited by real people. It’s almost as if the two very different times are sidling up to one another in some eerie kind of cross-temporal dimensional shift. When I look up at the windows of what were once guest rooms of the Ponce De Leon Hotel, I can imagine someone from another century gazing out upon what must have been, at that time, a very strange and exotic landscape…traveled to by train from the far north.

We can be separated by a chasm of time that crosses centuries…or by space that spans continents, or just a few feet. For most of us, our syncopated lives are disjoint from one another. From time to time we hit the same beat at the same time…and harmonize together for a while. Sometimes…we’ll manage to stay in sync with someone else for years at a stretch…and make heartfelt music together. Those collaborations seem to be the most meaningful for us. But eventually…we fall out of time…and space with each other…slowly drifting…each in our own direction. We can, however, still be thankful for the music that lives on in our hearts…and acknowledge the same in those we anonymously pass by on the streets as we walk through this world.

2 Responses

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  1. Beautiful, Jim. Happy New Year!

    Patti Grace

    January 4, 2013 at 3:48 am

    • Thanks Patti…Buon Anno!


      January 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm

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