Thursday, June 25, 2009

here and now


On the phone. Båstad, Sweden. (2009).

One
According to physics, the arrow of time consists of just two components: the past and the future. The present doesn't exist. By the time we even think of the present, it's already in the past ... or so goes the theory.

This line of thinking is actually consistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that in a closed system, energy will spontaneously flow from being concentrated in one place to becoming dispersed, randomized, and spread out. In other words, over time and without some sort of intervention, what's in order tends to fall into disorder ... and what's already known (the past) is replaced by the unknown (the future).

There is no in-between. There is no present. Except, well, for one thing: we all know that there is. Science may not have an answer for the here and now, but I know that it exists.

Maybe the present simply represents the intervention against the universe's inevitable slide toward disorder. Maybe "intervention" isn't even the right word.

Call it making happy memories. Call it living life.


Looking into the distance. Hovs Hallar, Sweden. (2009).

Two
In the fishing village of Torekov, a large boulder of a rock sits at the edge of the beach. Years of weather and erosion have etched on the granite(?) face an image of the mythical Princess Thora, after whom the village is named. Look closely and you'll see it.

"Do you see her?" Jonna asks.

I don't, at least not initially. I do, however, see a moose.

"I see a moose," I reply.

"A moose?!" Jonna shakes her head before patiently describing what she sees ... the outline of Princess Thora's face, the nose, the chin, the hair worn like how Jonna is wearing hers ...

I see it now. I see what Jonna sees. (I also still see the moose, but that's another story).

Sometimes I'm ridiculously slow in seeing the things right in front of me. I wish it weren't so. I really wish it weren't so.


Centre court. Båstad, Sweden. (2009).

Three
We're in the coastal city of Båstad, Jonna's hometown. It's June 21, the longest day of the year. I suppose if one is going to have a perfect day, this would be the day to have it. Make the feeling last.

So. Båstad. There's sunshine, blue skies, sea views, sea breezes, beaches, cliffs, mountains (in Skåne!), ice cream, Italian drives, tennis matches, walking, hiking, more walking, old streets, new architecture, funny statues, friends, family, and Jonna.

I see the effort she's put in to provide me with a glimpse of the world she's from and, for this, I feel incredibly privileged. I'm thankful for her effort. I am thankful, for her.


Bathhouse. Båstad, Sweden. (2009).

Four
It's nighttime now. We're on the train, which is hurtling south along the coast toward home. Jonna's curled up in the window seat, sleepy. Her hands are warm, uncharacteristically warmer than mine. I kiss her on the forehead. I close my eyes.

Three weeks ago, when I wrote about starfishing expeditions and spiriting away happy endings, I never really foresaw this. But here we are. Physics tries to tell me that this moment, the present, can't possibly exist. But it does. I see it. I feel it. And I'm happier now than I have been for a very long time.

I don't want this train ride to end. A delay, a suspension in time, anything ... please! Am I being greedy for wanting more? I'm not ready for all of this to become booked in the past. I'm not ready for a future chapter to begin. I want the here. I want the now.


Self-portrait. Båstad, Sweden. (2009).

Five
So happens, there are no delays, no suspensions in time. On cruelly ironic cue, the faceless voice over the loudspeaker calls our stop.

"Nästa station, Lund."

Physics goes in for the win.

Bleary-eyed, Jonna asks me if I want to continue on to Malmö ... or maybe all the way to Helsingør.

I smile. If she only knew.

On second thought, maybe she already does.

We head out into the extended June twilight, under the stars.

Perfect day. Happy memories.

Still, it would be nice if there were more.

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