[Ed. note: We apologize for this latest column by Amy Sly beingabout a non-sexual object (unless you have a strange fetishregarding alphabet magnets). Sometimes the things Miss Sly findshave no relation to sex, and we realize how unfortunate this factis. Once again, we apologize.]
As a child, I was fascinated by the images evoked in variousfairy tales: young princesses pricking their fingers on spinningwheel spindles, and villages that fall asleep for 15 years or so.As the village sleeps, time marches forward. Vines grow around themand the seasons weather the buildings that house them. Meanwhile,the villagers sleep, oblivious to the outside world.
It is a misconception that the only experience we will have withthis process will be in death, when our bodies fall victim todecomposition or become prey to the winds that will blow our ashesabout the earth. Rather, passing years are evidenced on our bodiesin everything from our fingernails growing to wrinkles appearing onour skin.
These things all happen at a pace that seems to operate on aplane of existence separate from our hectic lives. A tree growsunfathomably slowly and yet we can watch the passage of time in thespeedy growth of small plants or in time-lapsed videos.
Sometimes the effect of time on our world can be visible in justa day, and sometimes it can take years to see the changes. It beingspring, I am amazed (in my first real attempt at backyardgardening) by the amount of growth that my little sunflower andsweet pea seeds perform while I am away at school. I can leave mygarden looking like a patch of dirt and, ten hours later, I returnto one-inch tall plants.
One morning on my bicycle commute to PSU, I was delighted tofind a scattering of fifteen or more plastic alphabet refrigeratormagnets in the bike lane of the Hawthorne Bridge.
I was instantly transported to my babysitter’s house from myyouth where I spent my time in the playroom spelling out C-A-T andA-M-Y on the easel. As I rode along the bridge I tried to makewords out of the letters, but could only come up with B-O-D, whichisn’t really a word, just an inanely advertised body spray.
My inner cultural curator begged me to pick the magnets up andtake them home to my overly-decorated fridge. However, beingperpetually late to class I couldn’t stop to pick any of them upthat day or the next.
Throughout the week, the colorful fridge magnets slowly vanishedinto the ebb and flow of city life. I liked the thought of peoplewalking the bridge and picking the magnets up, putting them ontheir fridges, and having a silent connection to the person who hadlost them.
One day, I realized that all of the magnets were gone and I felta twinge of regret that I had never picked any of them up. Butabout a week ago, a blue D reappeared after having been missing forweeks. I screeched to a halt and picked it up. About thirty feetaway an orange O sat in the gutter, as well.
Holding the little colorful shapes, I thought about theirjourney and how they had come back to the place I had first seenthem. Like an over-worked miner, time had not been good to them.They had lost their magnets and were squashed by numerous cartires, but sitting next to each other they still spell out D-O (orO-D, if you prefer) and I’m happy that I have a little connectionwith the others who possess some of these magnets, too.