I was thinking today that here we are nine years into into the new millennium and what changes I experienced having lived over 50 years of the last century. As it is doubtful I make it 50 years into the new century I sit here watching, waiting, wondering, what new discoveries are left What a marvelous time to be drawing breath.
I scrambled to say something thoughtful or entertaining about whatever it is I have been reflecting back on these past few days. I`ve made several runs at this entry, but have come up short each time. I can`t decide which sort of knot to tie on this life of mine life before I haul it to the attic.
The problem seems to be my ambivalence about the whole thing. On the one hand, there`s this hard-to-describe sense that history is passing a threshold. Sure, a purely arbitrary threshold, as arbitrary as when a person turns 21 or 65, but being 21 or 65 does change things for a person. What will be different for you in this century? I don`t have a clue. I suspect some things will be different, probably things we`ve not thought of yet.
I`m not talking about Iraq, or Gay Rights or Politics. Anxiety over such subjects has been a distraction from what might matter most: namely, the significance - if any - of entering the 21st century. I, for one, am a little weary of hearing about Iraq, or politics, or the environment and such. And will be relieved when the darn things are finally over with, one way or another. You never lived in the Stone Ages, so it will be worth it to stop the fretting for a bit and considering some other things.
On the other hand, writing an entry about something that hasn`t already been said is proving to be a sticky wicket.
I thought a good place to start would be to talk about Britain`s Queen Victoria. Her reign lasted so long that her monarchy became synonymous with the whole century of the 1800s. She was Q. of E. from 1837 to 1901 - 64 years - and now everyone from historians to antique dealers refer to things from that era as "Victorian."
This set me to wondering: What things associated with this present century will become permanently stuck in antiquity, the antiquity of this millennium, when history turns a page 91 years from now? What things and ideas will people think of as "old-fashioned" merely because of their connection to dates with a 2 beginning it?
But the Queen Victoria idea didn`t really go anywhere. So I tried a different tack. I`ve always thought of any given moment as being like a cosmic seining net, sifting a constantly flowing river of time through the fine mesh of this present moment. The past has already passed through the net. The future has yet to be strained. Some things get stuck in the net because they`re too big to fit through, like sea turtles stuck against an ocean drift net. But this idea didn`t seem to go anywhere, either. Sort o like this journal entry.
So then I tried looking into the future. Imagine a time when only a few people alive today will remain on the Earth. Children will ask, "Grandpa, tell us about the 20th century. What was it like back then?" We`ll feebly clear our throats, adjust the quilt across our laps, set the brake on our wheelchairs and begin in quavery voice: "Well, I remember 1999 like it was yesterday. ..."
Nah, nobody will want to hear that. I think the problem I`m having with this entry is the element of uncertainty. We`ve all got our pet theories and predictions. But no one really knows what`s about to happen. It`s like a giant sinkhole in the highway - we want to stop, get out of our cars and peer into it. It`s probably just an ordinary sinkhole. Or it might go clear through to China. We just don`t know yet.
Tell you what I`m going to do. I`m going to go about life as normally as possible for the time I have left of it. I`ll leave my shotgun where it has been gathering dust for the past 10 years. The trigger lock is still in place, and the key is somewhere around here, I`m pretty sure. If Terrorist start pouring across our borders or a cataclysmic civil unrest occurs, I`ll just be in the same boat as everyone else, with no bunker in which to hunker.
I may just sit home tonight, and have a drink or two,and flip on the telly. Then I`ll sit a while - watching, waiting, wondering - fall asleep, and wake up tomorrow, glad I`m alive and ready for the day........and the future what ever it brings.
Watching the slow decay, first written 2. Jan. 2009
4 months ago