It has been a year.
The human mind keeps an astonishingly good calendar. You can argue all you want about the artificial division of time into arbitrary units and how this doesn’t reflect the nature of reality blah blah blah blah blah, but when significant anniversaries come around you just know. You don’t have to ask. You just know.
It doesn’t seem that long, really. A blink of an eye. A warm time, a cold time, a few rainstorms, not much snow. You wake up, you go through the day, you go to sleep again, you do it all over the next day and the next and the one after that and after a while it all blends together. You’d hardly know any time had passed at all if you didn’t stop to think about it.
Because life is a liquid, after all. You take Something out of it, and there isn’t a Something-shaped hole left over to stare at or to put that Something back into, even if you could. The days slosh inward and fill the space until you’d never know there had ever been any Something there in the first place, not from the surface, not if you don’t know the story.
Knowing the story makes all the difference. It always does.
Once you know the story you understand just how immense the gap is between Then and Now. How much time has actually passed by, silently, irretrievably, and how you can’t really go back to Then except in memory. It’s all just Now.
Sounds. I remember the sounds most of all, of conversation and laughter and connections stretched over far too much distance that never seemed stretched at all because there was so much to fill that distance with and make it seem like nothing at all, as if we stood side by side. I remember so many things. That is the thing about being a historian. You remember. It’s your job. There’s a reason I ended up in this field. It’s who I am. You remember what was, and how it is no longer.
As you get older there are more of these memories, more of these calendar events that slow you down and make you think of people who once were part of your everyday life but are now stories for you to tell to yourself and to others, stories you make sure to tell to keep them with you just that much more, just that much longer.
The time piles up and the stories surround you, and eventually it will all fade away into the background of larger stories. But I’m not a large story. My story is only my own, and those I hold dear. I will tell those stories and remember.
It has been a year.
It is strange to live in a world so changed. I’m not sure that strangeness will ever go away. I’m not sure I want it to.