555

Not to be confused with 999, which is something else altogether. Not a particularly interesting number either. 55555 would be more interesting in a way…

Actually 555 is sort of interesting here in the ‘banks today, but primarily when written this way; 5:55. As in five hours and fifty-five minutes. That – of course – being the amount of daylight available to us today, so says the morning news cast. This tidbit was offered immediately following the same news reader saying, “the sun rose…that is – will rise – today at…”

Ah, winter.

Anyway one sort of neat thing about 555 is the symmetry of it when written. It just seems balanced somehow… but that may well be just a side effect of the fact that I have been pondering balance a bit lately. Especially after a certain person spoke at length about it yesterday morning. Specifically that bit was about our need, as people attempting to stay sane (i.e., balanced), to reconcile the way we think about our experience. Actually he started in talking about his shoes and how slippery they are, especially in consideration of the strange state of our current environment here of late, and how wearing them forces him to slow down and think more about his feet and his pace while walking. I rather liked that bit, a fine parable really. Otherwise, his point was that as we go through life we cannot help but be faced with three competing realities; those being the past, the present, and the future. By no means am I going to attempt to recreate, nor even summarize (beyond what I just wrote) his insights. Instead I will lean once again, on poor old Jon Arbuckle (and I really hope here that the good folks over at Garfield – Garfield are experiencing some increased traffic from all of my borrowing of their content… hint hint)

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See, what is great about this particular strip is how it exemplifies the exact problem mentioned above… in a sense. Well, maybe it is a bit of a stretch but I am going to run with it anyway.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “Maybe he is pining for fjords!”

The past. Days gone by. Yesteryear. Memories… you’re talking about memories. Yup, I suspect that we are all more than a bit familiar with the reality of “Living in the Past”, of dwelling on what once was. And why not, it is both an easy and comfortable trap as well as a sometimes comfortable and safe state of being. But. BUT, if we spend too much time in the past we can miss everything else, or at the very least miss out on truly enjoying the present. Plus, one might suggest that living thusly might at times serve to undermine the other end of this equation. History will teach us nothing after all… Poor Jon, he pines.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “It was a new day yesterday but it is an old day now.”

There is a lot of new age, self-help, mantra style advice roaming around out there telling us to “seize the day” and to “live in the now”. The past is gone and the future is just a dream and all we truly have is what is right in front of us! Or something. But. BUT, we all know it is not quite so easy. We do have memories. We do have pasts that sometimes haunt us. Sometimes our pasts are full of good memories, solid foundations for a stable life. Many of us have grand dreams of what the future will bring; explicit plans of how we will construct and live out our lives in the days to come (but I am getting ahead of myself here). Whereas some are hung up in what once was, other are lost in what might be. But what of those that claim to truly care only about the present? What does this really mean? If we focus only on what is right here and right now are we fools for not planning for the possibilities/eventualities of what is ahead? Are we selfish for ignoring/forgetting those that have gone before? Or is it more like Janis said, “It’s all the same fucking day man.”? In Jon’s case one might suggest that he is lamenting not fully being able to take advantage of the here and now… I miss [out on doing] a lot of things.

I miss a lot of things. Aka: “What new devilry is this?”

Fear of change or of “progress”: the luddite. Head in the clouds: the dreamer. We can go two ways with this one. Out of balance with the future in attempting to ignore that it keeps coming. Time marches on after all. Out of balance with the present in living only for the possibility of tomorrow and ignoring the duties of today. But. BUT,there can also be an element of scorn (ok, three ways), out of balance with the past in the sense of… the future is well, the way of the future; the past is an anchor and is dragging us down. Out with old, in with the new. But not everyone shares this way of thinking. Some are distrustful of change and new things. Some are befuddled by it, this “new way”. Like Jon… I miss [the meaning or purpose of] a lot of things.

And yet, I meant to talk about the weather, or at least this business of the waning of the daylight. We are hurtling towards winter solstice. As we do every year. The dark days. The slow swing of the pendulum. But that is just it…there needs to be a bottom for there to be a top. Dark to be light. The swing must continue, back and forth as it always does. As it always has. As it always will. There will be another day, not long from now, when one will be able to say “Whoo Hoo, we now have five hours and fifty-five minutes of daylight! The sun is coming back!”

So ponder that as you walk slowly through these long winter nights. Ponder that as well as the soles of your feet.

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