Turning the garden, not with a tiller but a shovel — the plot is small enough and besides, we wanted this intimacy, with the earth and between ourselves, reenacting an ancient ritual, digging up buried memories along with the clods.

I’ve started gardens before, but either moved before anything grew or gave up when the weeds grew. This year will be different. How do I know? I’m called by a future memory, the way a seed is beckoned by the plant it becomes. Time sends its roots in all directions.

I used to divide past, present, and future like vegetables in a child’s dish, each in its own compartment. But as we outgrow baby food, we outgrow limiting concepts. Those bland, pureed concoctions have as much to do with food on the vine, the living earth, the smell of rain, as our conventional wisdoms have to do with the truth of time, dream, or personal power.

Freeing myself from time takes time (or seems to). Ten years ago, I ran a rag across the window of my soul and glimpsed an eternity in which time wasn’t. This had happened before, in dreams, but I didn’t know then how real dreams are. On this day, however, I was awake, yet time had become dreamlike. Time, I realized, was an illusion, created by my physical senses, allowing me to perceive reality “moment by moment” instead of simultaneously, in a spacious present that includes “past” and “future.” The experience didn’t last long (only an eternity) but it broke the parched earth of my awareness like the sharp tip of a shovel, opening a pathway between the inner and the outer world.

I stopped wearing a wristwatch, a symbolic act that exaggerated my real independence of time, for I continued to hurry and fret. I still don’t wear a watch, and I walk that pathway with more confidence, the ground workable, crumbling in the hand, right for planting.

— Sy