I’ve been pondering time lately. I once heard a theory that while time is linear to us, that it could also be a circle. I envision this as a tight coil, circle upon circle, so that everything is really happening simultaneously, in different components of the coil.
This concept works well with my notion of Other Realms, such as exist in Grace Awakening. This makes the past that Ben is obsessed with and that Grace is dreaming about is all really concurrent with their modern high school experience. The memories of 3000 years are as close as the present.
This sort of fits with the experience of Jamie and Claire in the time travelling Outlander series. It changes the concepts of death and love.
18th century Jamie expresses it well to Claire who has crossed through the standing stones in the 1960s to return to him in the past. She is remembering his grave seen in her own time, and she is afraid for him. He is not worried:
“But do you not see how verra small a thing is the notion of death, between us two, Claire?” he whispered.
“All the time after ye left me, after Culloden—I was dead then, was I not?…Two hundred years from now, I shall most certainly be dead, Sassenach… Be it Indians, wild beasts, a plague, the hangman’s rope, or only the blessing of auld age—I will be dead. … And while you were there—in your own time—I was dead, no?… I was dead, my Sassenach—and yet all that time, I loved you. … So long as my body lives, and yours—we are one flesh,” he whispered. His fingers touched me, hair and chin and neck and breast, and I breathed his breath and felt him solid under my hand. Then I lay with my head on his shoulder, the strength of his supporting me, the words deep and soft in his chest. “And when my body shall cease, my soul will still be your’s Claire—I swear by my hope of heaven, I will not be parted from you. … Nothing is lost, Sassenach; only changed.”
“That’s the first law of thermodynamics,” I said, wiping my nose.
“No,” he said. “That’s faith.” (Drums of Autumn p.321-22)
It makes my heart ache a bit to think of such faith in love. That’s a good thing too. I think Ben feels the same way about Grace, so long as she will choose him, and survive the attacks of those meant to destroy her. There’s that finger of doubt chasing him, though. Will she stay this time?
Death doesn’t stop the love. The loss of a person physically doesn’t mean the warmth of feeling disappears. Scents or memories can drop in and collapse the time between in an instant. Dreams seem like a very logical way to cross the divide. Visitations can be close in the territory of Morpheus. I wonder if he’s worked out some arrangement with Chronos? Hmmm.