life isn’t measured in years

“The city of feeling rose out of the city of fact like a definite composition.”
—Willa Cather, Lucy Gayheart

“The calendar of facts doesn’t correspond to the calendar of feelings.”
—Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Outside of Chico, CA, there’s a town called Paradise. It’s a perfectly delightful name, to be sure, but the town itself is nothing, really, apart from some beautiful trees and some impressive valleys and gorges that have been shaped by the Feather River. featherAt the end of a steep and unimproved dirt road, there’s a flume that hugs the side of a mountain, and even passes through the mountain by way of a narrow dark tunnel, reappearing a quarter of a mile later in the sun. In the summer, the path along the flume is bursting with vegetation, with splashes of green and yellow and purple. The names of things don’t matter, because the place is filled with echoes of the past, and the past, even if it’s 20 or 30 years ago, suddenly feels like the present. The same sense of overpowering joy that was felt years ago is felt now once again, as though not a minute has passed. The greens and the yellows and the purples swirl and there’s a flash of recognition and something like timelessness is touched. If only there were Feather Rivers everywhere, pleasant reminders at every turn that life isn’t always measured in years.

5 Responses to life isn’t measured in years

  1. How beautiful and touching, Kevin. Thank you. Rumi has a line I have always loved. He says, “There is no fear if days are passed as long as you remain, oh my pure beloved.” And did you know that “paradise” is a Persian word?

    • Hi Ali, good to see you. Noticed, too, that I have an email from you. Thanks for dropping by, as always. And thank you for the comment and making the connection between “paradise” and Persian. Cheers, K

  2. Kat says:

    Beautifully-written. I love the description of the flume, the colors, and the unimproved dirt road. We all have our Paradise, though yours in California may be more beautiful than ours in Cather’s Midwest.

    And I like the brilliant chiasmus (ABBA) of the two statements by Cather and Proust. “City of feeling (A)…city of fact (B) and “Calendar of facts (B)…calendar of feelings (A). (Is your background, too, in classics? Because we LIVE for chiasmus and parallelism!)

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