THE TIDES OF THE PRESENT
We all must have a bit of the Twilight Zone in our DNA, because there are days or parts of days when we drift out of our conventional sense of time and find ourselves a little bit a sea. I believe that perhaps I have been more prone to this than the average bear in this regard. It is my belief that time is like an ocean, and like an ocean, it has tides that ebb and flow.
And I’m talking about the future and the past, plus the fact that, in my mind, they actually flow in and out of the present. In some respects, the past has never fully passed and the future is more than only in the future. In other words, the waters of the past (and future) lap on the shore of the present, going in and out like ocean tides.
And I believe there are greater tides than the one I’m pointing to above. Earlier in my life, on several occasions, I was able to witness this for myself. Not only do the tides of my personal past and future ebb and flow, but history itself includes tidal phenomena. Not only events, but especially people, figures of state and notoriety, also go in and out of fashion in a tide-like manner. For example, a composer like Mozart may come in and out of prominence like waves of the past resurging. As the past resurfaces or promotes one author or musician over another, we run to document it. And here is the point: the needs of the present find us rehearsing those areas of the past that were presages of what we now need. We exhume them time and again as they relate to what the “now” demands. Memory to a significant degree is of our own making.
It’s the same with the future; it can start to come down and be present and then flicker for a time, fade out, and almost vanish from the present, only to come back some time later, but ever stronger. And, like the tide coming in, the future continues to approach, just as the past ever recedes, although the past has a wash-back that can resurge.
And those of us here now are like the boat that the tides of the past and future endlessly rock, the cradle of the present. The past and the future are not stable, if only because we endlessly embroider them to our own imagination and desires. Memory of the past is as fickle as our expectations of the future. The past and the future are vast areas of our mind that we can but peer into and guess at. We are all victims of the tidal effects of time.
And to perhaps put too fine a point on it for most readers to credit, I can attest from my experience, that in the swirls and shifts of time, every once in a while in my life, several perfect storms of time have brought me into contact with the impossible. I have no idea how or why, but I have had (and not on drugs) experiences of meeting the essence of individuals who had passed on years before. In particular, I felt I was with Billie Holiday (perhaps my favorite singer) and at another time with Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect. I can’t explain it and I have no reason to lie, plus I’m too old to care if folks think I’m crazy. But there you have it. The orb of influential persons in our life also seems to ebb and flow.
IMO, to a great degree, time is a social convention lived by the majority — a consensus. We don’t always remain within that convention, but in odd moments, days, and hours of our lives, we may wander into more unusual (altered) states of mind and time.
Eternity does not somehow just exist at the end of history or linear time. Eternity exists now, deep within (or without) time. And time does not extend to some end down the road. Individuals extend time and we endure for that length. We last until then and in-between, we stretch time, make time. We extend ourselves.
In moments of great vision, we leap between the seconds (beyond time) to the day of creation itself. We each have and develop our own sense of time and sometimes we are pushed beyond conventional time and into altered states of time that we cannot control, which is the sign of the shaman. I have spent years of my life in that time warp.
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