Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Life as Palindrome

Recently I shared with friends an odd convergence of events in my life.

At 13 months of age, my granddaughter Clara is ever so close to walking on her own. With some coaxing, I can get her to let go of the coffee table or the chair and take a step toward me. But then she either grabs my hand, returns to the table or chair or simply sits down.

But in a week or two or three, she will let go. Behold, the toddler!

As all this has been going on, I’ve noticed that balance has become a bit of a problem for me in my mounting years. It used to be that I could stand on my left foot and put my right leg in my pants leg and then switch my balance and repeat the process for my left leg. All of this without holding on to anything.

It all seemed pretty natural until recently when I’ve not been able to perform this everyday act without holding on to something: the dresser, the door, the bed.

There seems to be, I told my friends, a time to let go and a time to hold on, and nature tells us when it is. Someone said this sounded vaguely biblical. It’s Ecclesiastical, to be exact:

There is a time for everything,
 and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build....

These events also reminded of a story from David Eagleman’s mind-stretching book “Sum.” The story is titled “Reversal.” In this little fable – the book is full of fables about imaginary afterlives – life reverses itself after we die. Comes a time in this reversal when I, being exhumed from the grave, revived at the hospital etc. would no longer need to grab something to put my pants on. And, growing younger, regressing through my "past," there would come a time when I, as a toddler, would no longer feel safe walking or standing on my own. I would be compelled to cling to a hand or a coffee table.

Spending time with little Clara is teaching me that life is, in a way, a palindrome.

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