Sunday, October 17, 2004

eternally present

This weekend was a good weekend. It was the first time I have been home in who knows how long. And I could tell. Things always change so much while I'm gone. Not the kind of change that you're aware of if you're in the middle of it. That gradual change that happens when you're not looking, that catches you by surprise only by looking not at where you are but where you have been.

Yesterday, Mom and I went to Madisonville. Instead of taking the conventional way home, we took 630 to Dixon and then Oak Heights, Jack Allen, and Poole Mill Roads before home. All just to look at the turning leaves. That last jag from Oak Heights through Poole Mill Road is my old bus route. I haven't been through there in over four years, and I have never driven it all. It was a most literal drive down the legendary memory lane. Those people and places are ones that I haven't thought of in years. The one-lane winding roads with grown-up fencerows atop tall banks and the green and golden valleys and hills in the light of the dropping sun were almost too nostalgic to be real. The sheer reality of it all, though, was enough to make me think about the nature of past, present, future, and how they relate to our lives.

"Living in the past" is generally looked down upon. I don't really know how possible that life is. Just as possible as living in the future, maybe? I suppose the danger lies in constantly trying to get to those places: the ones that have gone forever and the ones that are just out of reach. But where we are is where we are. It has just been the future and has just become the past. It's just a puzzling concept, and I somehow think I can use it to justify my living the past for an afternoon. But for those few moments, I took my past and made it my present.

Go, go, go, said the bird: human kind
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

T. S. Eliot, from Burnt Norton, Four Quartets

No comments: