The liquid-eyed poet John Keats, dead at 25 from tuberculosis: “There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.” In the same vein, from an old hymn often sung at funerals I presided over when I was in religious life: “Time, like an ever-rolling stream, / Bears all its sons away; / They fly forgotten, as a dream / Dies at the opening day.” No-one and nothing stay the same. Not even for an instant.
We perceive the world through a thicket of memory. I see a bird. I remember its genus, its coloration and perhaps one or two other distinguishments. What I cannot recall is how I felt when I first saw this tiny amazement fly into the embrace of a tree. Now I “see through a glass, darkly,” through the dimming filters of time and memory. In other words, I don’t see.