On Time

Albrecht Dürer, Time, Fox, Wheel of Fortune, Change Machine

New Year’s Eve 2014

The task of reflecting upon a year is, in many ways, an individual one. Today I feel compelled to do so, in whatever way, in hopes that you (if you are reading) might find some seed of meaning to set root in your own field of thought, so that we may achieve (if such things are possible) a more common one.

After all, I may not speak to your experience, only to my own; some of you have had an excellent year, and some of you a crummy one, and in my own reflection I do not presume or judge.

For myself, of course, it has been a funny old year, remarkable and challenging:

I would not trade it, nor would I repeat it, and as we light our yearly vigil into the next I am reminded to keep my eyes level, and to tread with care on the path ahead:

After a few turns around the sun, I know just enough to maintain hope but no real expectation of a better one.

I would by no stretch of the imagination call myself a “nihilist,” but I also do not subscribe to any cold-comfort philosophy of “silver linings;” after all, by all outward appearances, the Universe does not give a flying fuck about being fair.  Rather, the Universe appears to be interested, simply, in righting its own energy, if it is interested in anything at all. This may occur for the “best” and it may occur for the “worst;” but for every disturbance that opens up along its course, the Universe will always (it seems) rush in with something to fill it.

The current may drown a man, or it may carry him to shore; but regardless of the outcome, it seems folly to ignore this thing of a deeper “Balance” as a probable and compelling idea (if not an unflinching natural law).

For myself, it has (in many ways) been a very difficult string of several years – years that have amounted, in essence, to a fallow field. And yet, in the damp darkness all around there is of course life – life hidden and tenacious, scrabbling ever upwards towards the surface:

In spite of all difficulty this year (which I will not detail here, for its specific nature isn’t the point), I have been privileged to have my family with me; I have been fortunate to have had few genuinely transcendent creative experiences; and I have been blessed to live this rare and excellent life I live, here in this Great City.  And I find that even the deepest gloom of the Void is suffused through and through with what are nothing less than the friendships and romances of a lifetime.

Friends, if you too find the current has carried you into a deeper darkness, I urge you: do not flinch, but rather peer into it until it begins to swim and count every secret blessing:

If you are lucky enough to lie down next to your beloved each night, be grateful. If the Wheel of Fortune yet affords you the chance to wake up in the morning and look upon your family and friends, be glad.

And remember always to pay homage to Balance:

The path to Heaven may indeed be paved with sapphires, but it is also paved with blood; for, to paraphrase a wise man, that which lies within us is also the stuff and substance of every star.

There is no solace in the Universe besides the ever-advancing and (seemingly) infinite passage of Time – to which we are all together subject, illusion though it may be.

And remember your fellows always and now, as we gather together at this liminal hour on this liminal day and dip our goblets to drink, in effigy, from the Fountainhead:

If my glass is full it is because you have filled it;

And I always drink to you.

Image: Time and a Fox Turning the Wheel of Fortune with People of All Ranks to the Right by Albrecht Dürer.

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