[Image: “It’s time to stop, the night said to me,” by Brandon Barr. One of many photos in The 24 Hour Project, a worldwide collaboration of 65 photographers documenting every hour of the day… in over 35 cities. Barr’s photo of a street corner in Atlanta was snapped at 11:03p.m.]
From whiskey river:
We Have Time
We have time for everything
Sleep, run back and forth,
regret we made an error and err again
judge others and absolve ourselves,
we have time to read and write,
edit what we wrote, regret what we wrote,
we have time to make projects and never follow through
we have time to dwell in illusions and stir through
their ashes much later.
We have time for ambitions and diseases,
to blame destiny and details,
we have time to look at the clouds, at the ads, or some random accident, we have time
to chase away our questions, postpone our answers, we have time
to crush a dream and reinvent it, we have time to make friends,
to lose them, we have time to take lessons and forget them
soon after, we have time to receive gifts and not understand them. We have time for everything.
No time, though, for a little tenderness.
When we’re about to do that, too, we die.
It seems that most of us could benefit from a brush with a near-fatal disaster to help us recognize the important things that we are too defeated or embittered to recognize from day to day.
(Alain de Botton [source])
Not from whiskey river (excerpt):
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
(T.S. Eliot [source])
Affliction is a marvel of divine technique. It is a simple and ingenious device which introduces into the soul of a finite creature the immensity of force, blind, brutal, and cold. The infinite distance separating God from the creature is entirely concentrated into one point to pierce the soul in its center…
In this marvelous dimension, the soul, without leaving the place and the instant where the body to which it is united is situated, can cross the totality of space and time and come into the very presence of God.
(Simone Weil [source])
Everyone knew something had happened — everyone, everywhere, at the same instant.
Many said they heard a click, as from a door latch’s simple opening, and some said no: it was a faint brief creak, as of someone sitting in an old chair in the next room. The deaf and the sleeping said sorry, they couldn’t agree, they’d heard nothing at all, but they knew something had happened nonetheless. Many said there had been a tiny tremor of floor or earth, and a handful of alarmists reported a sudden racing of their hearts. A good number turned, a second later, to their spouses or partners, their co-workers or cellmates or classmates, people sharing the same bus seat or park bench or pew, raised their eyebrows, and said — in the language of their choice — What was that? You might have been in the grip of a deep dreaming sleep, oblivious to the shouting of the neighbors next door, or you might have been one of those neighbors, interrupted between words; you might have just plunged a shovel into the earth to dig a grave, or your fingertips into the earth to plant a seed; you might have been breaking into the company safe, or you might have been raising the gun to prevent someone else from doing so, or you might be entering your office in the county courthouse where you would soon hear the case of the debt-ridden worker, his arm still in a sling, caught in the act; you might, that moment, have tapped a comma on a keyboard, or you might have been someone who would read that comma in a day’s time; you might have just emerged, gasping, from the birth canal, or you might be breathing your last, surprised to experience anything at all unfamiliar. It made no difference. You knew it had happened, too.
A sudden flicker, an instant’s discontinuity, the tiniest lurch in awareness, a fold, a ripple, a needle jumping into or out of a groove, a tap, a tickle, whisper, whiff, tang: something had happened, and something left its imprint in the consciousness of everyone on the planet, everyone breathing at that split-second. The effect was immediate and transient, and yet rippled out through history, for thousands of millennia afterwards.
No one knew who had first suggested the term (there were many claimants). But everyone came to call the experience by the same name. They called it The Blink.
The 1940 song “Five O’Clock Whistle” seems at first to be about exactly what the title promises. But then you listen to the whole thing, and you suddenly realize: the only important split-second in the little story occurs some time after 2:30a.m….
Here’s Duke Ellington’s take on it, with a sly, swinging vocal by Ivie Anderson:
[Below, click Play button to begin Five O’Clock Whistle. While audio is playing, volume control appears at left — a row of little vertical bars. This clip is 3:19 long.]