20 November 2005

The big picture.

This last year or so I've felt kind of like I have completed a huge part of my life, or maybe I feel that all I have to give to this world has already been given, and my work is done. Guess it's largely because the kids are grown (hi kids!) and my childbearing years have ended and retirement from my job could come at any time if I so wished.

The whole physical changing part makes me feel like I live in a different body, not like I've shed a skin, not like I've gone through a metamorphosis into something beautiful like a butterfly, but more like all the supple parts of me have crumpled, the colorful parts turned grey. I'm not complaining, I'm just trying to learn how to deal with my body not working the way it used to, to my self being housed in a different case.

Age does have its rewards. At different places in your life you pause and look around. At each stage you are able to see a little more, you have a better view because you are farther along; to use a metaphor, you are "further up a mountain" and can see a lot more of the landscape below. Each person has to make their own journey to the different levels, so even though I try, I can't really explain to you to what I can see now, today.

But something floated on my consciousness today, an epiphany if you will.

Try to picture this. I'm driving along the two lane highway to work, streaking across the landscape in my warm car. The road skirts the foothills, coursing straight for a while, a gentle decline, it curves, climbs; the vista sweeps out for miles in several directions; my way stretches out in the distance, traces behind me, I am feeling the speed of the car, half-listening to my particle physics course, aware of a pounding "55" in the back of my brain, not the speed of my car but the number of years I have lived, my mind everywhere but nowhere at the same time. I was zoned out (or in) and had a mini-vision:

My life is a streak across space and time. And so is the life of every human. Each streak is a tiny brushstroke on a large canvas. Trillions of self-aware brushstrokes across space and time.


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