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  • Writer's pictureLisa Cox

It's about time.

Updated: Mar 26

About a year ago, I was in a meeting talking about my Peace Project, in which I visit conflict sites in the expansion of the American West, particularly the Indian Wars of the second half of the 19th century in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains regions. Somehow the phrase "it's about time" came up, I think made by me in reference to the time frame in which battles occurred up against today, when site visits offer opportunities for psychopomp work on the land. A friend in the meeting said, "It is about time." She was referring to the dual meaning of that phrase in the context of our discussion, time for these conflicts to be recognized wholly, and for amends to those who ultimately lost: Native Americans.

Earlier this week I had the honor of judging at the Wyoming History Day competition on the University of Wyoming campus. It was a joy to witness the high level of research and use of communication and technological skills in creating documentaries of students grades 6 through 12, on a range of topics under the thematic umbrella Frontiers in History. It has been only a short few years that documentaries have been part of the annual line up. Certainly, when I was that age, a nice diorama in a shoe box was about the extent of technological application!

Last evening I watched an episode of The Late Show in which Stephen Colbert addressed Nicholas Cage with a question from his Colbert Questionnaire: "What happens after we die?" My response would have been, "I don't know exactly, but I hope there is an option to bother, invisibly, people who were mean while I was alive."

Seriously, though, when we think about time, and construct timelines, how far back do they go- and how far forward? And what does it matter? As an historian, I consider the lessons of the past to be valuable- and the stories to be entertaining! As eldest of four siblings, and the family "get things done"-er, I consider the 1821 family Bible and old photos and letters found in my father's living room closet recently to be valuable primary sources that could benefit our local historical society and the interested public who visits. Our family were among the first settlers; we built that town- a good story! As a death doula, I consider the entire timeline of a person's life, including when it has just passed, and actions taken to alleviate work for loved ones in the aftermath of death, to to be important. As a shamanic practitioner who does psychopomp work, I consider a larger time frame, and reality frame, to be important.

We are one. Multiple realities and timescapes all circle around together. Much like the butterfly effect, everything we are and do at any given time in Ordinary Reality has consequences somewhere down the line, and who we are and what we do is also influenced by other events and actions. I am fond of the declaration "time is a construct." We create meaning with, through and by time.

That is a lot to think about. It's about time.

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