The Milky Way Express

Riding on the Milky Way Express,
clouds all puffy for my dress.

Time moves with varying degrees of speed. It is as elastic as a rubber band and can snap you back into grief at a moment’s notice. And time doesn’t have a seat belt. If it did, it doesn’t have air bags. It does, however, have a radio that can transport you back into the past as if you wanted to go.

Aromas do that for me as well. The smell of flowers just brought from a refrigerator at a funeral home can shock me into the past. The smell of mimosa as I walk down my street allow me to revisit the aroma of mimosa on my grandmother’s street when I was only five years old.

The latest example of time slowing down is when I left Facebook again. (I tried to leave you, as Leonard Cohen sings). So now I have cut my writing time way down. I have less to say, having immersed myself in silence. And yet I find myself at the keyboard this Sunday afternoon.

Last night when I took a walk, an old neighbor was moving back into his parents’ house. They are both dead now and he was an only child. His wife’s parents, now in their eighties, live across the street and require care. Both houses are brick. The son moving back into his childhood home must find time going backwards and forwards at the same time. That can make one nauseous, I imagine.

But the man felt that grace had moved him back home. “I didn’t even have to put my other house on the market,” he told me. It sold by word of mouth. I felt a deep connection with him, having lost half my nuclear family. And he, an only child, had lost both his parents when they were relatively young.

After hugging him and telling him to please call me Vicki instead of “Ma’am,” I walked back home and back into my present time. We do this all day long and think nothing of it because we are not aware of how we time travel.

I am a young Vicki and an old Vicki, but never a ma’am. Never separate from the rest of life. I look in the mirror with dismay as my gray hair has become so unruly as to look like Roadrunner on the top. One side is thinner than the other, too, so that makes it look even weirder. But my health is good and I imagine I have more years of riding the Milky Way Express.

Many years ago I had a prophetic dream where I took refuge in some mountains out west. The light around them was purple and yellow. An Indian told me that there was an ice age coming after many years of rain. And today floods are taking precedence in the nightly news. Yesterday I read where there will be a mini-ice age in the next 15 years. Nothing I can do about that. If time were a steam engine, we could park it right before the 15 years were up. But maybe we are just watching a movie. So say many of the great sages. If that is so, it has smell-o-rama, which I rather enjoy. Here comes the conductor. You always have to pay for your ticket; I believe that is called karma….but grace is what powers the whole thing.

Vicki Woodyard


  1. This Milky Way has its ebbs and tides with a synchronicity that binds it all together. I too smelled the flowers today and took a few photographs of the way they are all so beautifully laid out. Then was pulled back to when they all were planted and grief arrived yet again, I remembered the person who planted them, she is gone although I know not so far away. Your neighbor and I have one thing in common, we both are an only child, then I remembered my parents who are both long gone I remember them well so they are not so far away. I seen that thing that you mentioned, well maybe not the same one, but it was about a returning ice age another prophecy of doom and gloom that tells again that the end is near, but not really near it is all about perspective. Luckily I have committed to memory that the spaceship we are on is merely temporary and that makes it all ok.


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