This photo was captured by Ross London.

Trying to handle time is like trying to grab onto running water. You watch it slip from your hands, occasionally forming a puddle at your feet, overflowing unexpectedly, drowning you while you try to keep your head afloat. At times abundant, at times as scarce as the sun in the Michigan winter. This winter has been different — a halo of light seems to surround my life, and I allow it. I am learning to deal with having time again. It ebbs and flows, comes and goes, laughs and woes. I am just a subject to its passing, a mere bench in a station in which a train occasionally stops.

My time is scattered — like droplets on a car window on a rainy day, stains in your neighbor’s couch, strangers in their morning commute, crumbs on the floor under the fridge, the days on a leap year, a goodwill cart that was left behind by someone whose plans changed mid stroll, the shuffle button on the playlist your high school crush made you, empty cans after the Super Bowl, letters mixed with junk in the building mailbox, Midwestern city names, suburban condos and vacant strip malls, the vitamin-C pill dissolving in your morning glass of water, cheap champagne bubbles fighting for air (breathe). Skipping stones creating ripples in Lake Huron, the very same bouncing off in the February ice, trails on the virgin snow, directionless, concert memorabilia on your small fridge, friendships made at phony parties, forgetting what day it is, forgetting faces to names, and names to things, and things to say, and saying ‘I love you.’

My time is counted — by the drive to sleep and the drive to exist, here and now; by dissociating in class, at home and the ‘in-between’ of those two things to which my life has been narrowed down; by the yoga class you spend too much time in your head to “dive deep into your breathing and bring awareness to it,” whatever that means; by counting down days until you actually ‘go blue’: the sea, the sky or just a trip in your bedroom. It’s counted by the small things I do — the nonchalance of it all, suddenly makes it feel like home. Betty and Ross. Jonny. A half-cooked album and the hope of keeping it sparked. New songs, old songs, combined songs; half-opened books, a new stain on the table, too many grocery runs because your nostalgia of ‘la sobremesa’ makes apartment 10 at 602 a bed and breakfast. Good company. The remaining cactus on my window sill, two gone. New places, new walks, old walks. Seeing this place through new eyes. Refusing to count it when you call your grandparents: a boost to the ego, not one to the stomach — you long for the spinach cannelloni and the sound of jazz syncopated with clanking dishes and Abuelita Ro’s heels. You try to replicate that feeling here. 

My time is given — to an almost perfect cycle of things. Ah yes, routine: an established time frame in which visitors come and go, leaving behind or taking with them, parts of me. It’s given to someone six hours ahead and 6,000 miles away from me, with gusto. To a list of friends that I have inherently narrowed down, with gusto too. To music and writing and creating, but not enough to reading and letting go. To my physique but not enough to my psyche. To cook and allow my room, my bed, my table to become impregnated with the smell of lentil stew. It’s given to searching for a future that takes away from this ‘now,’ while understanding that that’s life. My time is given to myself.

My time will become — spring. The cherry blossom at Mckinley Avenue, and the flowers in Granger Street, the strolls through the Pioneer Woods. New friends, old friends. The mastering of a new art, perhaps another tattoo, perhaps a haircut. No, not that. It will become what I become, whatever that is, whoever that is with, or without. A finished project. The right moves — dancing a waltz with what I want, what I have and what I can have. *spin, drop, sway* It will become my release of hibernation to enter the world again; such a small world in which I live. Two, actually — the grandiose overwhelming concept of what will be, and the simplicity of knowing just what right now is. Ann Arbor, Barcelona, New York? Music, writing, politics or something new? Que será será, what will be will be. 

Daily Arts Writer Cecilia Duran can be reached at