Recurrent Autumnal Questions

Turning and turning the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

W. B. Yeats

Such thoughts keep churning about my grey matter, but the words to express them have escaped me for so long that I thought I might never place them on a page. That logic messes up what I perceived to be my gestalt – thoughts and words and expression of same, so much more than my whole self.

Today is September 11, 2021, but the pall goes so much further back and so much deeper than the anniversary of a tragedy from which we will never completely recover. Though this date appears to be just the beginning, it is not at all so because human depravity has been festering for eons. One single person can spread misery instead of joy if he chooses to dismiss our common threads. And so often, he does. Millennials were children when those towers – and the people within them – were terrorized, and they don’t remember the world before 9/11. Do I? Do I remember it like Proust and the Petite Madeleine – morphed back into what I perceive to be a simpler, less turbulent time? Or am I wearing rose-colored glasses? Remembrance of time long since past often appears to us incompletely. Perhaps distance in time can not only cruel, but kind as well.

This melancholia might only be attributed to autumnal blues. Autumn – the harbinger of the passage of another short year, and a reminder of the ephemeral nature of everything in this world. (Everything we love, and everything we don’t.) Or it might be not a melancholia but a profound longing. A yearning that has been there forever. But a longing for what? When the what eludes one, for what does one search? For the Petite Madeleine of yesteryear? We dream in black and white – the subtle nuances of color are not revealed to us when we remember them in the conscious world. We color them only as our experience on this side of consciousness allows. When Chris Stevens, the ex-con disc jockey turned philosopher on Northern Exposure felt that keen sense of longing, a can of green beans took him back to Thanksgiving in prison, where he met his mentor Tooley, where he discovered Walt Whitman and Jung, and where, ironically, his mind was expanded. But I don’t think a Petite Madeleine or a can of green beans will take me back to where I was, because where I was wasn’t where I wanted to be. It’s just where I want to be now, and there is no such thing as a wrinkle in time. And the past would only be perfect if I could take a select piece of the present with me.

Have you ideas on how this life ends?
Checked your hands and studied the lines?
Have you the belief that the road ahead ascends off into the light?
Seems that needlessly it’s getting harder to find an approach and a way to live.
Are we getting something out of this all-encompassing trip?

Eddie Vedder

“Makes much more sense to live in the present tense.” –Eddie Vedder

In that episode of Northern Exposure, that yearning lead Chris back to where he was by reconnecting to the people with whom he shared that common bond, a Thanksgiving repast. And that satisfaction filled the hole in his psyche. Did Chris transmogrify in prison or did that experience return him to the person he always was at his core, the person God created him to be? What an uncommon metamorphosis, either way. Maybe that in itself is the yearning. If so, then can one abate it by looking into blue eyes, in essence, a reflection of oneself and the potential that one had but to which she was blind, but a potential that has resurfaced in order to return one to God’s original image, like a Petite Madeleine or a can of green beans? Is it that simple?

It might just be that simple.

Penny for your thoughts....

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