shift2014-02-14 17:40:58 -0800 personal writing
Riding home from the café this morning, I experienced a powerful sense of temporal displacement. The temperature, the color of the sky, the damp scent of flowers, the particular slant of the wind, the shade and shapes of the pavement transported me emotionally to Provo, Utah, 1982, riding my bike down the street away from the mountains homeward as the weight of an impending storm pressed from all sides. Swallowing to equalize the pressure in my ears, I watch eddies of leaves intermittently swirl up and then scatter haphazardly back to the ground. I feel a low, diffuse sense of anxiety–an urgency that has been cut with disappointment so often that it no longer tastes of immediacy, but still has that bile-bitter edge of expectancy. The future has been stripped of detail. The projections that adults weave like tendrils into otherwise unmapped time have suddenly withdrawn as if in flinching recoil from an unexpectedly repulsive sensation. All that is left are vague impressions of possibility; there are no appointments, no plans, no rituals, no assurances. What awaits is formless, raw. And there is a crackling excitement in that. No dread of inevitability. No deep-grooved tedium of habit. Just novelty and a long absent sense of infinite malleability humming as current through my nervous system. A sense of freedom sweeps over me, but it's a freedom so overwhelming it is frightening, almost unbearable, incongruously oppressive.
And then in an instant it's all gone: I'm back to the present, my calcifying future restored, the jaded pall of dull predictability draped again over the piled corpses of once overoptimistic ambitions, a quiet trembling in my chest, a tightness in my throat. I suck in a deep breath, slowly let it out, and then all this too passes, settling me back into an uncalibrated equilibrium, coasting down the street and through an intersection, balanced with familiar ease on a measured uncertainty.