It came to me just recently that the longer I live the smaller everything is, other than my waistline. A year is as long as a season. Days are as short as hours and minutes are a mere flutter of an eyelash. Of course the compression of time is a common observation often commented on.
Less frequently do you hear one talk of the physical dimensions altering . We are aware that the earth, figuratively speaking, is getting smaller. When I was a child short distances were huge. The walk to Leech Brook from the Oasis parking lot was the equivalent of a jungle safari and just as hot. What is now a jaunt was then an excursion. Far off wonderful places were Boston, in the United States and even Halifax less than a thousand km away. Today we have the means to get anywhere on the planet’s surface in fewer than twenty-four hours which makes our sphere seem so small. London,Paris,Rome and New York are neighbours and not exotic unknowns.
A few years ago I went home for a visit and took a look around my old neighbourhood. Our house which seemed so big when I was a child was modest in size, the garden was small, and the entire block would fit inside a football stadium.
The Masonic Lodge still stood about four houses up the street. But most surprisingly the hill that it was on seemed to have shrunk to the height of a bump. This bump swelled to a mountain in our young imaginations.
Not only has my perception of time and distance altered but so has my view of problems. When I consider how much of my life has been consumed by hurt feelings, disappointments , anger and fear , I am appalled. What a waste of energy that was! Today those mountains too are mole hills. In fact if I had to list ten mortal wounds to my emotional well-being I would be hard pressed to remember any at all.
So life changes our perceptions.
Some things were indeed larger . Cherry Blossom bars were too big to get a good bite out of. First you had to shave a few layers off with your teeth to form a ridge that could be chomped on. And then you gnawed away till you got to the centre where the treasure was a cherry swimming in a sea of gooey sweetness. Slices of bread were thick, fluffy and large. Of course they were mostly from a home-made loaf. Families were larger and consequently the typical family car was a full sized sedan. The front seat accommodated three people and if necessary four. Meals in restaurants were bigger and you waited for things to be cooked. It was common to wait an hour for a meal to be prepared. Today our time is so short we can’t wait that long.
It is Sunday as I write. This day was never-ending many years ago. So many things were fit into Sunday. For one thing most people did not work because it was a holiday so there was a lazy feeling about it despite the fact that the day would be entirely utilized. First, there was church in the morning. Mom would cook a big meal at noon for when we came out of church. Often company would drop in either at meal time or after dinner. We’d eat and chat together and if it wasn’t too late when they left, we would go for a drive to Gander or Botwood. Alternatively we’d visit family. Hours later we’d arrive back home, have supper if we hadn’t already eaten out and make sure homework was ready for the morning. By 10: 00 we were in bed . The day seemed long .
This Sunday will pass quickly. And I will wonder what I did all day.