I’m reading a book right now called Time and Again by Jack Finney. In it, the main character slips back in time about a hundred years and experiences a wintery New York City of 1882. It has reminded me that, although things keep changing everywhere as we move forward in time, there still is a lot remaining from the past all around us. Old buildings and views of mountains, and such, of course. But states of mind, as well. We all experience different layers or ratios of this perception or interpretation at any given moment. Sometimes we are rocketing along with the wave of the future and sometimes we may be quietly reflecting in what could be any era. H.G. Wells (may have) said, “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” I would have to agree—and add a pedestrian element as well. Bicyclists and pedestrians experience a little bit of the world from the past. A world without air conditioning… a world where effort turns into distance… where geography and time are linked… where nothing—and especially not everything!—is 5-minutes away… a world that is grounded… aware… patient. It’s a wonderful space. I’ve been soaking in it as much as possible. And I see others experiencing it, too—and then I understand H.G.’s sentiment.
There’s a house up the street from me, just about at that point on my walk to the train where, if it’s a hot day, I’m starting to flag a bit, to lose that wonderful space. There are wind chimes hanging in the covered front porch. I hear them… and then I see the tree leaves flutter in the wind… And there I am… right there… no place else to be… again.