Thinking Backwards

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. ‘Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?’ he asked.‘Begin at the beginning,’ the King said gravely, ‘and go on till you come to the end: then stop.’  -Louis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

And then it was over. Ok, it wasn’t quiet so clear cut , but that’s what it feels like now- now that it’s over. It’s hard to remember the transition from the beginning to the end when you’ve already started moving forward from the last day of a finished reality. Looking back, do you start to see the whole adventure through the grim lens that divides the time before the end and what is beyond the end?

One of the biggest problems with people is that they are habit forming.

There might be photos, but unless you wrote down the middle (a writing that truly captures the essence) while you were living it, it always dissolves into the framework of your here-and-now. The natural reaction to this tendency is to try and enjoy the middle

Photo via flickr.com/marywithoutsound as it unfolds. Here’s the catch: even if you recognize the middle while it’s happening, that cognizance introduces the risk of dilution  with techniques for preservation and maximum enjoyment of the moment.

When you are past the end, the sweetness of the beginning and the middle seem so foolish, so unreal beside all that new information and a series of events that has been sorted, labeled, and analyzed. Will the next sweet beginning be suspicious? Will you poke and prod it until it retreats into an ending so that you can say “Ha! I knew it.” Yes, probably.

But now and then, despite the gathered cynicism and intricate, developed systems of interpretation, there are those lovely moments when a raw piece of the beginning or maybe even the middle floats to the front of your mind. For a few minutes you can savor the way the middle felt before you realized it wasn’t a beginning. That is the moment when it’s possible to put aside all those detective tools, to enjoy what has past, and jump into the next present with absolutely no knowledge of when it will be a middle and when it will be followed by an end.

Timing is everything. All the old scars had healed, and there was no longer that stab of pain that used to come with cold weather. The fall air was completely free of summer’s heavy, burdened scent. I wrote a poem that day for the first time in too many days. My skin felt fresh, clean, and the door to the whole world had been opened. There was no fear of the future, because the present was flooding my senses. The beginning was so sweet.

Do not fear the future photo by Mary Harvey.

(This is my response to the DP Challenge: Backward. I wrote a draft a few months ago, but the challenge gave me the impetus to finish it.)

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