Archive for December, 2010

They say that we experience time linearly, and I suppose they’re right, to a degree.  But if time is stretched out in a line for us, then it’s lumpy, generally oriented in a line but twisting, running back on itself sometimes, and meandering along during the dullest parts of the day.  There are days that seem to slip by like a greased hummingbird.  Sometimes time feels like it’s not really moving, or that it’s almost moving backward.

I read somewhere that the new discovery is that time is a substance, like olive oil or pureed pumpkin pie filling.  While this is interesting and twists my brain, I can’t say that it actually means a whole lot to me.  Time, regardless of what it may actually BE, is compelling because of how it makes us feel and how we experience it, whether we’re philosophizing about it or noticing it waft by us on a summer evening on the porch.

Sunday melancholy afternoons are most poignant in the fall.

I like peaceful Sunday afternoons.  I don’t know why, but there’s an element of sweet sadness to them, especially in the fall.  The crisp air brings out the melancholy in the air’s autumnal bouquet.  And on those days, I tend to think of far-off things, like fairytales or people I used to know who have been gone for years, or childhood games I used to play with my sister, and then we would get so tired and our feet so full of grass cuts that we’d come into the house and have peanut butter sandwiches, applesauce, and milk for supper before getting ready for bed.  On Sunday afternoons I think of dreams that I have had before that probably won’t ever happen, or people I really miss that I probably won’t ever see again.  I think of Tommy Gronewald who I used to ride the bus with every day for two years in 6th and 7th grade, and I wonder what he’s doing.   My thoughts stray from what is and what will be (I need to go to the store, pay my bills; I’m going to have some friends over tonight) to what could have been: What if I had pursued music like I wanted to at one time?  What if I had made the decision about my job the other way?  What if I had moved to Oxford like I said I would?  Or even more fantastic wonderings: what if I had been born five hundred years ago?

I think that emotions are, to some extent, hard-wired into the rhythm of the day and night: mornings are jubilant and full of hope; late afternoons and early evenings are just made for reflection and looking back.  I think the melancholy of Sunday afternoons means something, but I don’t know what it is.

Reading the Lord of the Rings, it just so happens that I get to the chapters in Lothlorien on an autumn Sunday afternoon when the melancholy is thickest. How very appropriate.


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