I'm a time person. I wear a watch whenever I leave the house. We have 4 timekeeping devices (regular clock, stove, coffeemaker & microwave) in the kitchen, one in the livingroom, one in our home office, two in the bedroom. I have two calendars in my office at work. I remember anniversaries, big & small, happy and sad. Time as a concept fascinates me. When I was a kid, we got one of the very early 'digital' clock radios, the kind that had tiny numbered cards that flipped as each minute passed. I was an insomniac growing up, a propensity born of being dragged (literally) from my bed to go properly sweep the kitchen floor, dry the dishes better, or be punished for some transgression I might have committed during the day. Eventually, I couldn't fall asleep until everyone in the house had gone to bed and was likely asleep, until I felt safe. So I would lay awake in the dark, listening to my sister's soft breathing, and watch that clock; I'd allow myself to literally watch time flip by with an almost imperceptible click. It felt wasteful, and yet somehow gave me a sense of control...each minute was consciously mine until the next number dropped into place, and then it would begin again.
Time rushes by faster now, but I still always know the date & time; marking dates is important to me. I know what day we got each of our dogs, what time my sons were born, what day (and time) I got the phone call when each of my parents died, what day we moved into our house up here (and that it was many endless hours later than we'd planned). And I know the day that my friendship with a womon named Linda turned a corner, even if neither of us recognized the moment when it happened.
We'd known each other about a year-and-a-half, through working together for a womyn's festival. At the 2004 festival, we'd really connected, first when I invited myself to wait out a thunderstorm on her cabin steps, then talking late into the night as fire circles lit the night, womyn chanted & drums kept rhythm. We were just two people who found it easy to talk to each other. Afterwards we developed a pretty steady email correspondence, discussing everything from politics to religion to movies to baby racoons & grown sons. Nothing ever entered our minds besides getting to know each other, friend to friend. And then one day Linda mentioned in an email that she was going to Vermont over Labor Day weekend. I invited her to visit on her way up or back, to break up the very long drive. To my great surprise, she suggested I go to Vermont too. It was an open-house kind of gathering, with everyone just setting up tents on the land. I thought it was a pretty cool, change-of-pace thing to do, two friends going on an adventure, so I agreed to go along.
That email exchange was 8 years ago this past week, and changed both our lives. We didn't plan it, didn't expect it, and neither of us was 'looking'. It wasn't until the trip ended and Linda got home that--again through email--we realized & acknowledged how we felt, each of us assuming the other didn't feel the same. There are many anniversaries that sprang from that weekend. An email exchange may seem an odd anniversary, but each year at this time I search my archived folders for those cyber-missives and re-send them to Linda. They remind me that life can change as quickly as the numbers changed on my 'digital' clock radio, and that time is too precious to be wasted.