Sunday, January 20, 2019


Time compresses. It's all a blur!

Here I am, speeding along at 80 miles an hour.  Olin says, you need to be going 88 mph to get back to the future. That was the speed that worked in the movie.  But I'm not sure I want to go back.  Returning to where you've already been has its up sides, certainly, but when you look more closely there are plenty of down sides.  And which time would you choose, anyway?

I’m not really sure how how fast 80 is, I'm just finding out.  Just starting to accelerate, as it were.

Time is a flexible thing.  A relative thing.  Most of us sense when time is speeding by and when it drags.  We learned relativity from Einstein, of course, but it’s right here in everyone's ordinary experience.  We are aware of it in sometimes odd ways.  If you’ve had a fall, or been in an accident, or jumped into the water from a very high place and you think back about the experience, the motion of it, and try to visualize it: didn’t the time it took to happen feel elastic?  As if it happened in slow motion?  When in fact it took only a nanosecond.

As I said, eighty is a number of great import.  It's heavy.  I think about it, and I weigh it.  It contains two forties, four twenties.  Those are numbers of entire lives.  Now take forty, for example.  Forty is a nice number, a neither here-nor-there number, so you can have it both ways, if you know what I mean.  But it's an underappreciated number, believe me.

Metaphors.  So you don't actually have to talk about age.

So:  Aging is diminishing.  It's a highway to nowhere. We get smaller, skin begins to look like old fruit, limbs don't work as they did, files get jumbled, and so on and so on.  And on.  People acknowledge all that, but they don't know it.  You should feel smarter than you ever were (after all, there are miles of information in that mental filing system) but it's harder to sound that way. When you manage some simple thing––maybe something not everybody going at the same speed as you can do–is that good?  Is it really amazing? Amazing is scary.  Does it mean you're just testing the speed limit?  Pushing the envelope? Are you going to get stopped?  When, exactly?

It’s all very tiresome. So I’ve decided to forget it all.  Which is harder than you might think. I suppose this is evidence that I'm not forgetting.

Some moments can be lived fully.  (The same scene, seen more clearly.)  Living with nature makes all the difference.

This morning Skyler got me up at his usual seven o’clock and I came downstairs in bathrobe and slippers, fed him, let him out, made coffee, made a fire (it was minus 6 outside), let him in, went back upstairs and got dressed, let him out, went outside and hauled wood to the back porch, made an apple crisp for everyone tonight, let him in, had lunch, took him out for a walk in the woods which involves a thorough inspection of the night’s wildlife traffic, went for a brief ski in the same territory, had a shower, let him out, let him in etc. (Skyler's actions are highly repetitive), got ready to go to an afternoon party in town, started to write this bit, and expect later to bring my apple dish next door for tonight’s dinner.  A busy day.  All this took about 15 minutes, total.

You may ask Y? or Why?
[Trails made by muskrats who know their letters.]

I exaggerate.

But–seriously–a week can pass in the space of a day.  The quicker you move along...  Wait.  To be honest, the more years you add, the closer you get to the end of that road.  There it is.  That's what eight-zero is really about.

But maybe we're all going too fast.