Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Speeding Toward the Light

My sister in spirit, Nicki Black, recently brought up the mystery of why time seems to go faster and faster as we age. Much has been written about it. Here's some more:

I was watching the water drain out of my kitchen sink this morning. The last couple of inches drained out much faster than the first couple, I swear. Now, any scientist worth their salt would argue that the human eye is no real judge of that sort of thing. Besides, it would seem to make more sense that the weight of the whole body of water would make the first few inches drain faster, not slower. Don't quote me, I haven't googled this yet.

And, who can deny that the last pages of a good book, or moments of a good movie, go by much faster than the beginning? Then, again,there is the river that builds and builds and builds as tributaries join in on the way to the sea. Just listen to Smetana's Moldau. It is the symphonic painting of one of Bohemia's great rivers. At first sprightly and young, then lively and playful, then tortured with rapids and conflicts. Finally, in the closing passages, it is majestic and full of compelling story. The end is soaringly rich with yearning. I am actually tearing up just thinking about it. The life of a river that races toward the sea. The life of a human, born on a journey, of which the ending is both unknown and unknowable.

We think we have so much time, when we are young. We think that when we are old, time will slow down as we do, that more retrospection will give us wisdom and preparation for our final days. Maybe we do spend more time looking back, but nothing prepares us for our approach to the sea, (more river analogy, really do have to listen to the Moldau). Nothing prepares us for the gathering velocity of our days. There may be some who are more sanguine about death, but I think most of us feel the mystery in our bones. Not necessarily dread or fear, but honest wonder about the great beyond. About our own ending.

We are reminded daily of the fragile nature of life. We are bombarded with stories of lives ending. As we age, more and more of the ones we hear about are in our generation, not our parents'. Maybe that constant reminder that we are very temporary inhabitants of this life is part of the reason it seems all the more fleeting.

Of course, the only balm for the thing is the same fix for every other human ailment. Gratitude. We know it. We say it. We write it. We think it. This is the only day we are given. Live this day with thanksgiving. It may not slow our speeding toward the light. But it makes the trip a better one. And, seriously--Smetana's Moldau. You'll never look at a river the same again.

1 comment:

  1. Judy, thank you for writing about time, The older I get the more I love the people in my life and it goes by without notice, so quickly. Your writing has always soothed me. It flows, has so much warmth and depth. I just love it. Nicki