Monday, May 11, 2009

on Memory Lane

Yeah, we all come here eventually.

The weather is just so, and we've had the precise amount of melancholy, nostalgia, or other intoxicants, or are otherwise seized by a transport of rapture, and the reality laid out before us is fused with the images of memory. We may revel, we may mourn, we may, Spock-like, reflect that it's "Fascinating." But we will inevitably arrive there.

We humans bind time and encode it in symbols. This is what we do, and why we're here.

My olde college towne, just down the road from my home; that vacant lot was filled, that store was reincarnated, once, twice, thrice, and more; it's just an empty space, subject to temporal imagination.

The breeze blows lightly, drying the week's rain, and the stone memorial bench on which I sit is inscribed with the names of people whom I'd met, but who are no more.

That's how it goes, isn't it?

There is a Zen parable that reads:
A rich man asked a Zen master to write something down that could encourage the prosperity of his family for years to come. It would be something that the family could cherish for generations. On a large piece of paper, the master wrote, "Father dies, son dies, grandson dies."

The rich man became angry when he saw the master's work. "I asked you to write something down that could bring happiness and prosperity to my family. Why do you give me something depressing like this?"

"If your son should die before you," the master answered, "this would bring unbearable grief to your family. If your grandson should die before your son, this also would bring great sorrow. If your family, generation after generation, disappears in the order I have described, it will be the natural course of life. This is true happiness and prosperity."
It does indeed give me comfort that the Wheel turns, that Winter has given way to Spring and promises Summer. I anticipate the respite of the Fall after the efforts of the Summer, and the rest that is promised with the following Winter. It will all come around again.

There will be others, on this spot, in their time, their here, their now. Our Shades may linger for a time. But let them fade in the clear sunshine. Let them be naught but echoes and briefly-glimpsed images.

May the distant-worlds in which we may not live bring a smile to our face, but let no regret crease our brow. This is as it should be. This is the slow growth of the generations and nigh-holy evolution. Secure your spot, if you can.

We are but one note in the Symphony.

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