It’s all starting to come together for me now. Oh yes, it surely is. For last night I had a second revelation to go along with Secret of the Universe Clue #1. Now, I just need to figure out what the “it” is that’s coming together.
Whenever we come to our cabin in Camp Sherman I take along my media box, a plastic container that I fill with videotapes, DVDs, serious non-fiction books, unserious mystery paperbacks, and every unread magazine lying around the house.
I never get around to perusing half the stuff in the box, but it relieves my anxiety to know that if there’s a nuclear war while we’re at the cabin, I’ll have enough entertainment on hand to distract me while the radiation does its lethal work. (I worry about strange things).
Anyway, last night I pulled out a stack of magazines from the bottom of the box, settled into a comfy chair, put my feet up on the ottoman, and started to read an issue of TIME. I learned that the insurgency in Iraq was growing stronger and movie studios were hoping for some summer blockbusters. Ho-hum. Familiar news. I glanced at the headlines and kept turning the pages.
I came to a story about Kerry’s campaign. Kerry’s campaign? Something suddenly seemed out of place in the space/time continuum. I took a closer look at the cover. I saw that the issue was from June 2004. It had sat unread in the box for an entire year. And the strange thing was, the national and world news themes were so similar to what is happening now, I didn’t notice that I was a year behind until the Kerry campaign story jumped out at me.
Then I heard that increasingly familiar Here’s-a-Secret-of-the-Universe voice speak to me inside my head: Each “will happen” you’re reading about has become a “has happened.” What will be, in 2004, is what was, in 2005. And next year will be the same.
In other words, right now I’m anxious about will happen during the next year. What right-wing judicial zealot will be appointed to the Supreme Court vacancy? Will there be a meltdown in the LA housing market just after my daughter and her husband buy their first house? Is Al Qaeda going to make good on its promise to strike the United States again? Will Measure 37 claims in Oregon make our rural neighborhood into a Salem suburb?
As soon as I heard the voice inside my head, I realized: “What I’m really worried about are possibilities, not actualities. Dire predictions of upcoming events in the June 2004 issue of TIME don’t concern me now, because I know what has actually happened.” Like Bush being re-elected. I don’t worry about that event happening because it has happened. Now I worry about will happen after his re-election. Like what sort of extremist he will try to get on the Supreme Court.
And so it goes. Every “will be” becomes a “what was,” transformed by the inexorable passage of time. If I could jump ahead and see myself sitting in the same Camp Sherman cabin chair a year from now, July 2006, everything that I’m concerned about happening will have happened. Or not. Whichever, the future will have become past. Frettings about unwelcome possibilities will have become mere memories of unchangeable actualities.
I wondered, “Then why worry? About anything.” I wondered about what I had just wondered about for a little bit more. Then I tossed the old news magazines away and started reading some current issues.
I thought about putting them back in the box and waiting to read them a year from now. But that seemed like cheating. So I read. And, once in a while, worried.
And so it goes.