Passage of Time

“In the old days Hortons Bay was a lumbering town.  No one who lived in it was out of sound of the big saws in the mill by the lake.  Then one year there were no more logs to make lumber.  The lumber schooners came into the bay and were laded with the cut of the mill that stood stacked in the yard.  All the piles of lumber were carried away.  The big mill building had all its machinery that was removable taken out and hoisted on board one of the schooners by the men who had worked in the mill … the sails of the schooner filled and it moved out into the open lake, carrying with it everything that had made the mill a mill and Hortons Bay a town.

Ten years later there was nothing of the mill left except the broken white limestone of its foundations showing through the swampy second growth as Nick and Marjorie rowed along the shore” (31).

There’s a lot of dealing with the passage of time and the cycles of life in this book.  Here, more than ten years pass in less than a page as Hemingway concisely represents the town in its noisy heyday down to when there is nothing at all left of it.  I was struck by how all of that life was stripped down both by time and by his description of it.

 

Hemingway, Ernest. “The End of Something.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. Print.