Posts Tagged 'time'

“The Unforeseeable Future”

Leafing through the “Misused Words and Expressions” section of Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style,” I paused at the entry, “The Foreseeable Future:”

A cliché and a fuzzy one. How much of the future is foreseeable? Ten minutes? Ten years? Any of it? By whom is it foreseeable? Seers? Experts? Everybody?”

Good question! As my son recently quipped when I asked him, mid-afternoon, whether he’d be home for dinner: “What, you want me to predict the future?” Continue reading ‘“The Unforeseeable Future”’

Ringing in ’09

New Year’s Day seems a fitting moment to revisit E. B. White’s meditative essay “The Ring of Time.”

The time is March 1956, and the ring is in Sarasota, at the headquarters of the Ringling Brothers circus. Like a baseball fan at spring training, EBW is watching behind the scenes as a teenage girl practices her riding stunts, bareback and barefoot. The thrill of watching this casual, uncostumed rehearsal far exceeds that of watching a final performance. As girl and horse circle the riding ring, he falls into a trance:

The enchantment grew not out of anything that happened or was performed but out of something that seemed to go round and around and around with the girl, attending her, a steady gleam in the shape of a circle — a ring of ambition, of happiness, of youth.

Lulled, momentarily, into believing the illusion that time itself runs in circles, he grows “acutely unhappy” when he realizes that, Continue reading ‘Ringing in ’09′


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