Sunday, May 24, 2020
If Time Were Not a Moving Thing
With so much time on my hands these days I go through books faster than usual. I had read the book "Time and Again" by Jack Finney a few years ago. I had forgotten that I had read it and started to re-read it just last week and then remembered how I had found it somewhat intense and a bit claustrophobic. It is a science fiction book about an artist being selected to create time travel with his imagination/self-hypnosis and this will be used by the government to change what they want to change in the past. It was a well-constructed novel based on factual historical events in New York in the late 1800s. There was a rumor that the story was going to be made into a movie by Robert Redford, but that fell through.
Now, I have turned to read "Speak, Memory" by Vladimir Nabokov because...well, why not go back in time with a great author? It is an autobiography. He begins recreating his first impressions of his life way back into toddler-hood. What an impressive memory he has. It reveals lovely patterns of existence and symbolism in the context of the turn of the Century in Russia in a wealthy family. In the prologue he explains that all of this was edited by intense give and take from older siblings and other friends who seem to remember some of it far differently than he does.
" I have journeyed back in thought---with thought hopelessly tapering off as I went---to remote regions where I groped for some secret outlet only to discover that the prison of time is spherical and without exits."
That is the fugitive of time. We see one creative side and another set of eyes that passed with us through that same window will throw cold water on that memory washing away a rosy color from our glasses and coming up with evidence of something very different. It is almost as if our memories of our past life are "but a dream."
OK. ENOUGH with the song lyrics.
Nabokov also said "The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness." Well with that depressing perspective I will admit I can now move forward with fewer expectations on the importance of my leaving a memory or even a footprint!
"Initially, I was unaware that time, so boundless at first blush, was a prison. In probing my childhood (which is the next best to probing one’s eternity) I see the awakening of consciousness as a series of spaced flashes, with the intervals between them gradually diminishing until bright blocks of perception are formed, affording memory a slippery hold." Nabakov again.
Above is a photo looking back to our dock, a memory for this year. Our first venture across the water in almost a year since the recreational boating lock-down was lifted this holiday weekend. My husband was thrilled and I brought a book in case he had luck at his old fishing hole.