Saturday, March 2, 2013

"Am I going on too much? I value these because they happened,
and the sum of them is my lifetime."

From Roger Ebert's article My Backup Mom
(discussing his memories of his family and friends)

I have been feeling the passage of time lately something I think
is quite common as one grows older. Certainly I find a lot
of writers discussing the past, memory, history, the passage
of personal time, the passage of institutions, customs. A poet 
I have been reading lately John Koethe excels at memory and 
passage of time in the city landscape.
"This is the life I wanted, and could never see.
For almost twenty years I thought that it was enough:
That real happiness was either unreal, or lost, or endless,
And that remembrance was as close to it as I could ever come.
And I believed that deep in the past, buried in my heart
Beyond the depth of sight, there was a kingdom of peace.
And so I never imagined that when peace would finally come
It would be on a summer evening, a few blocks away from home
In a small suburban park, with some children playing aimlessly
In an endless light, and a lake shining in the distance.

Eventually, sometime around the middle of your life,
There’s a moment when the first imagination begins to wane.
The future that had always seemed so limitless dissolves,
And the dreams that used to seem so real float up and fade.
The years accumulate; but they start to take on a mild,
Human tone beyond imagination, like the sound the heart makes
Pouring into the past its hymns of adoration and regret.
And then gradually the moments quicken into life,
Vibrant with possibility, sovereign, dense, serene;
And then the park is empty and the years are still."

from The Park
John Koethe

So staying with the theme of time a homage to the seasons.

I have loved science fiction since encountering it in the school
and public libraries I frequented as a child in Windsor. Lately
I have been adding SF anthologies from the 1940’s and
1950’s to my collection. I love the strange stores that appeared
in an pulp magazine were republished in a old anthology and
then disappeared forever. For example a running bathtub that
brings down the skyscrapers of New York? Tonight I opened
the mails and there was Science Fiction Adventure in Dimension
(time) but the first story I picked out was by a favorite author
Ray Bradbury and I encountered this wonderful passage set on Mars
Max registers his approval.

“There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. He smiled and
turned the fancy in his mind. There was a thought. What did
time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people. And if you
wondered what Time sounded like it sounded like water
running in a dark cave and voices crying and dirt dropping
down upon hollow box lids, and rain. And, going further,
what did Time look like? Time look like snow dropping
silently into a black room or it looked like a silent film in an
ancient theater, 100 billion faces falling like those New Year
balloons, down and down into nothing. That was how Time
smelled and looked and sounded. And tonight-Tomas shoved
a hand into the wind outside the truck-tonight you could almost
taste time.
He drove the truck between hills of time"

                                                         Night Meeting
                                                                            Ray Bradbury

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