The Four Locations of Time

Inspired by the four locations in Northrop Frye’s book Words with Power. Basically, he envisioned these four mythic locations for literature: the Garden, the Furnace, the Cave and the Mountain. 

Here I tried to trace the trace of Time in our lives with four metaphorical images/locations.


So during your lifetime your Time may flow to different places. The mundane life happens in the facade. The melodrama is the waterfall. Et cetera.

The Facade

The facade stands in the center of the world, with all the seriousness of this universe. It is silver and splendid and majestic and has no windows. There is no way out of the building. The wall is made of glass, reflecting nothing but the sky beyond. On its simple wall are two most ornate clock hands. They go round and round and round and the people inside go round and round and round.

In this building there is office drama, domestic scenes, brow-burning problems, bone-chilling betrayals, air-conditioning and love, flower arrangement and death, garbage cans and babies, the Consul, the Advocate, the Explorer, the Artist, the Cheater, the Healer, the buzzing entertainment of our lives, and the quiet drumbeats of our own little hearts. This is where life happens, this is where death happens, this is where love happens, this is where oblivion happens. This is where time happens.


The Waterfall

Here time kind of breaks off. A rabbit hole of water. Your time comes to a turn and flies off the precipice. You get the sensation of being on a roller coaster, except that you feel like you’re going up and going down at the same time. Time comes to the waterfall when you’re in love, when you’re overjoyed, when one of your dreams came true, or when one of your nightmares happened, when your life strayed into a whirlpool of goo, when you’re crashing into death.


This is where time and space almost wobbles a little bit, and it almost reminds you of a wormhole. Except that it’s not. Time can go anywhere but it can’t bend.

The Drain

Through the drain you get to the sewer, which may seem like the most depressing location, dark and the sound of water dripping and all. This is where time goes when you’re “wasting” your time and it “goes right down the drain”. You might think that this is where Monsieur Thénardier hunts for rotten dead bodies unrotten gold, where unanswered questions turn moldy and dead, where procrastination sings the dirges of your hope, where your unfinished homework and unfulfilled aspirations perish.


But that is not true, because no time is ever wasted. The most pointless thing you do is a point on your map that connects with a point in the future. The drain and the sewer is where everything lies relatively still, where things go through changes spontaneously, where darkness crystallizes. Time may go down the drain but it doesn’t just die there. Every second in your life has meaning.

The Hideaway

Time travels to the hideaway when you reach the moment in a show where two people kiss and even the music falls silent, when the book you’re reading bends time and space for you, when you’re writing and you just seem to have a way with words.

All is at rest here. Time slows down because you slowed down, because in fact you’re just moving faster than any human beings and you’re gaining so much that even time seems slow.



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