Wednesday, May 18, 2011

On a rainy day...

But Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time. An hour, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length; on the other hand, an hour may be accurately represented on the time piece of the mind by one second. This extraordinary discrepancy between time on the clock and time in the mind is less known than it should be and deserves fuller investigation. But the biographer, whose interests are, as we have said, highly restricted, must confine himself to one simple statement...

The seconds began to round and fill until it seemed as if they would never fall. They filled themselves, moreover,  with the strangest variety of objects. For not only did he find himself confronted by problems which have puzzled the wisest of men, such as What is love? What friendship? What truth? but directly he came to think about them, his whole past, which seemed to him of extreme length and variety, rushed into the falling second, swelled it a dozen times its natural size, colored it in all the tints of the rainbow and filled it with all the odds and ends in the universe.

In such thinking (or whatever name it should be called) he spent months and years of his life. It would be no exaggeration to say that he would go out after breakfast a man of thirty and come home to dinner a man of fifty-five at least. Some weeks added a century to his age, others no more than three seconds at most. Altogether, the task of estimating the length of human life (of the animals' we presume not to speak) is beyond our capacity, for directly we say that it is ages long, we are reminded that it is briefer than the fall of a rose leaf to the ground. Of the two forces which alternately, and what it is more confusing still, at the same moment, dominate our unfortunate numbskulls -- brevity and diuturnity -- he was sometimes under the influence of the elephant-footed deity, then of the gnat-winged fly. Life seemed to him of prodigious length. Yet even so, it went like a flash. But even when it stretched longest and the moments swelled biggest and he seemed to wander alone in the deserts of vast eternity, there was no time for the smoothing out  and deciphering of those thickly scored parchments which thirty years among men and women had rolled tight in his heart and brain. Long before he had done thinking about Love (the oak tree had put forth its leaves and shaken them to the ground a dozen times in the process) Ambition would jostle it off the field, to be replaced by Friendship or Literature.


--- Virginia Woolf, Orlando


*may you build a ladder to the stars and climb on every one, may you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true, may you always know the truth and see the light surrounding you, may you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong, may you stay forever young, may you stay forever young. may your hands always be busy, may your feet always be swift, may you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift, may your heart always be joyful, may your song always be sung, may you stay forever young, may you stay forever young*

2 comments:

Constant Writer said...

I thought you had waxed poetic, and then I saw it was a quote from Woolf! Lol. I like the lyric at the end though :)

Outnumbered said...

Haha, I am amazingly enjoying my current Woolf endeavor and I just love how she redefines time in every way and idk this seemed so relevant to everything going on right now