"Living is moving; time is a live creek bearing changing lights. As I move, or as the world moves around me, the fullness of what I see shatters. "Last forever!" Who hasn't prayed that prayer? You were lucky to get it in the first place. The present is a freely given canvas. That it is constantly being ripped apart and washed downstream goes without saying; it is a canvas, nevertheless.
But there is more to the present than a series of snapshots. We are not merely sensitized film; we have feelings, a memory for information and an eidetic memory for the imagery of our pasts.
Our layered consciousness is a tiered track for an unmatched assortment of concentrically wound reels. Each one plays out for all of life its dazzle and blur of translucent shadow-pictures; each one hums at every moment its own secret melody in its own unique key. We tune in and out. But moments are not lost. Time out of mind is time nevertheless, cumulative, informing the present. From even the deepest slumber you wake with a jolt - older, closer to death, and wiser, grateful for breath.
But time is the one thing we have been given, and we have been given to time. Time gives us a whirl. We keep waking from a dream we can't recall, looking around in surprise, and lapsing back, for years on end. All I want to do is stay awake, keep my head up, prop my eyes open, with toothpicks, with trees."
- Annie Dillard
"The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older. Childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we're dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.
Time is this rubbery thing. It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, 'Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,' it shrinks up."
- David Eagleman
"It starts out young - you try not to be different just to survive - you try to be just like everyone else - anonymity becomes reflexive - and then one day you wake up and you've become all those other people - the others - the something you aren't. And you wonder if you can ever be what it is you really are. Or you wonder if it's too late to find out."
- Douglas Coupland
Two truths approach each other. One comes from within,
one comes from without - and where they meet you have the chance
to catch a look at yourself.
Noticing what is about to happen, you shout desperately: "Stop!
Anything, anything, as long as I don't have to know myself."
And there is a boat that wants to put in - tries to, right here -
it will try again thousands of times.
Out of the forest's dark comes a long boat hook
that's pushed through the open window
among the party guests who have danced themselves warm.
- Tomas Tranströmer
translated by Robin Fulton
"Who are we, if not a combination of experiences, information, books we have read, things imagined? Each life is an encyclopedia, a library, an inventory of objects, a series of styles, and everything can be constantly reshuffled and reordered in every conceivable way."
- Italo Calvino
Six Memos for the Next Millennium
"According to the Buddhist tradition, we are on a journey whether we like it or not, because we are always in a state of transition. Sentient beings are referred to as drowa in Tibetan, which means 'migrating creatures'. This is because we can never be in a particular place without moving physically, psychologically or spiritually. Whether we are thinking or sensing or experiencing emotions, everything is constantly being propelled or drawn forward. Emotions are "emotions in motion", because even a state of agitation is a form of movement.
However, if we are not in a state of transition, we could not talk about transformation. Our life would be a closed book, but according to the Buddhist teachings, our lives are not closed books because of this constant forward movement. If we feel that we are stuck, that is only our misunderstanding of what is really going on, for something is always happening even if we do not notice it."
- Traleg Kyabgon
Making a Fist
For the first time, on the road north of Tampico,
I felt the life sliding out of me,
a drum in the desert, harder and harder to hear.
I was seven, I lay in the car
watching palm trees swirl a sickening pattern past the glass.
My stomach was a melon split wide inside my skin.
"How do you know if you are going to die?"
I begged my mother.
We had been traveling for days.
With strange confidence she answered,
"When you can no longer make a fist."
Years later I smile to think of that journey,
the borders we must cross separately,
stamped with our unanswerable woes.
I who did not die, who am still living,
still lying in the backseat behind all my questions,
clenching and opening one small hand.
- Naomi Shihab Nye
"Life is both sad and solemn. We are led into a wonderful world, we meet one another here, greet each other - and wander together for a brief moment. Then we lose each other and disappear as suddenly and unreasonably as we arrived."
- Jostein Gaarder