I have two contradictory images of time. One is cyclical: days and months and seasons come and go and the years go round and round in a circle (clockwise, by the way, in case anyone is interested). The other is pretty weird: I see each date like a small tear-off calendar page. As the years go by, each date piles up on top of itself, all the way back to the beginning of time (the pile for February 29 – which for some crazy reason I always wished was my birthday – being intriguingly shorter).
These two images somehow make up my own conception of the “myth of eternal return,” which I have a whole book about but have yet to really understand. All I know is that my preoccupation with what happened on certain dates and with seasonal festivals feels like a link to everything that has gone before – like a grounding in some sort of eternal time that does not disintegrate. (Really, I say to myself: Wouldn’t it be easier just to believe in all those dead ancestors watching over me?)
In trying to explain all this, I’m feeling more and more like I have some form of Asperger’s syndrome. It’s about to get worse: The farther back in time I can link a date, the better it feels. So, for example, on this date in 49 BC Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon. But not really, because of that strange day in 1752 when 12 days were eliminated from the British and American calendars – but enough, even for me. I’ve reached the point of no return.