Make your own free website on


Another day. 

Another commute.

Another stoplight.

Then the world changed.

Rose drew her car to a stop at the light. She grumbled internally about the white-haired man who was approaching her car with a squeegee. She was quite willing to part with some small change in the name of charity, but why did her windshield have to get dirtier in the process? The man set to work and made a comment about the weather. This might have been dismissible as small talk, except that he compared the weather favorably to that of Bhita. Rose smiled at this and replied that yes, it was a lovely day. 

Bhita, in India near the Ganga river - it fired her imagination. Although the water that now defiled her windshield was much cleaner, this might be a hindu renouncer bathing her car in the Ganga. Rose handed him some change as he finished.

"Thank you, _________" said the renouncer.

Rose heard him speak, heard the name that he called her by, but only dimly. Synchronous with his words came thousands of echoes, as if her mind were a vast canyon. Each echo slightly different than the others. Different tones. Different voices. Different languages. Thank-you in many tongues, each addressing a different name. Familiar names.

Her head rang with the quiet harmony, and then it was quiet again.

Rose had remembered. 

She removed he sunglasses to show proper respect.
"No, thank you, Venerable One " she said. "It is good to see you again. How old are you now?"

"It is impolite to speak thus to an old man."

"You know I will never stop trying."

"One day I shall leave you be, just for the peace of mind it would bring me."

"I would never notice the difference, so no lesson would be learned." she smiled sweetly

"You should learn not to ask me such questions, the only answers I have are unpleasant. The light has changed to emerald again, and you must go now. There will be much to do. Remember that you must fulfill your duties to the present; the past will always be waiting, and the future respects neither."

"You were always a stick in the mud."

"Not true; Marc Antony is on my schedule today, he still owes me for our bet in 1939."

"Oooh! A pity to miss that. You must tell me about that later!"

Rose drove on to her destination. Or tried to. 

She was having difficulty sorting recent memories from those much older. Memories of streets that Rose had never stood on interposed and blurred the surety of her navigation.'There should be a synagogue on the left? - no, that was Poland.' Eventually she found it much easier to focus on her surroundings and letting her recent memories guide her intuitively. Thinking about her destination or contemplating the route that she traveled only resulted in memory conflicts. Multiple destinations and routes overlaying each other, vying for primacy.

She soon remembered that there was similar confusion following earlier awakenings. A semblance of control was sometimes re-asserted through a regimen of meditation and discipline. Sometimes. The Roman Centurion had no such recourse and went quite mad from memories of a barbarian precursor. His phalanx was active and far from Rome and any permitted religions. "Madness? Oh, there's a happy thought. Well, maybe I can find a Shinto temple around here." It did not occur to her how that sounded.

The Old Man was right: much to do. The laundry list of things that now needed to be done was staggering compared to the few urgent errands that she knew of when she had left for work this morning. Locate a teacher of Buddhist or Shinto, or a sect with similar meditational discipline; quit her job under some reasonable pretext without needlessly severing ties (the Old Memories knew little of the Internet); locate and declare herself to the Gestalt; and above all, find some way to explain all this to her family.

Rose had hoped that she would know how best to proceed when she arrived, but her new experience in navigating did not permit circumspect thinking. She pulled into the large lot of the Office Park and began scanning for a place to park. She immediately began grumbling internally because all of the nearest spots were taken. An familiar thought surfaced again "Why does everyone have to park as close as physically possible to the entrance?" Even the handicapped and visitor spots were full. She parked out in the open, towards the far end of the lot out of a sense of contrariness. 

Stepping out of the car, Rose wondered why she hadn't done this before. It was a fine spring day, the sun was bright, the wind was cool and refreshing. She suddenly realised that she was strolling to the entrance. That had never happened before. She was typically in a hurry to get here because... because... 

Rose stopped in her tracks, thunderstruck.
Because she had thought it was important to be here, on time, every day. Yes, she did have responsibilities here, but she was suddenly awed with the sheer gravity that she had associated with that responsibility. It seemed now like such a waste of effort.

copyright Karl Aune 2005   (end of progress)

Doldrum Home