Saturday, January 31, 2015

1/31 Syndrome

I was fairly convinced that, since starting this blog (on 2/7/2009), I had said pretty much the same thing every January 31 that followed—namely that today is peculiarly suited to wonder about the passage of time. That turns out to be wrong. Entries for 2011 and 2013 do make references to time, not the entries in other years. Perhaps my urge to mark the time (so to say) only comes in odd years.

The syndrome is easy to explain. Christmas, New Years, and Epiphany powerfully remind us of time’s passage. Thereafter the new year earnestly begins. For those who’re in the workforce, serious attention to the profession or occupation resumes with but a rather fuzzy holiday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day (which is only really half-observed), causing a half-stop. Then, suddenly, it is the 31st, and around here you’ll hear both Brigitte and me muttering to ourselves, “Jeez. January’s over. Where has it gone?”

Something that comes with advanced age is the feeling of time speeding up. I’m aware that saying that I’m contradicting myself. I don’t really believe in the so-called flow of time. Time, for me is simply duration. Therefore what I’m sure I mean is that the world is moving ever faster—or that the public message that comes from the civilization is quite unaware of repeating phenomena like seasons. Whereas, one might argue, as in childhood so in oldhood. Therefore for us the seasons are ever more meaningful again, much as they were in our youth. And the stuff between them rushes on, rushes, runs, races. And the end of January therefore shocks us to awareness of something. Call it a syndrome. The neatest definition of that word is “a place where several roads meet.” But what are their names?

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