The Pages Turn, The Fire Burns

“My World” is a children’s book by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. My son and I read this at night under a cactus light with a symphony of crickets out our window. The opening page shows a mother reading to her child by a fire. The words are “The pages turn, the fire burns.”

Maybe this is what got me thinking about the nature of time. Some time seems to turn, but some time seems to burn. Some time comes back around and some time trailblazes the future and celebrates the spirit. These two kinds of times blend together yet they are inherently different. One is bound to law and one is free. One is used to gain more control and one is lived to live as lively as possible. One is a clock and one is a flower. One is a wheel. What is the shape of the other? What is the shape of the spirited time that burns meaning deep into one’s soul? What is the shape of living?

The wheel of the zodiac turns. Its twelve archetypes carry the meaning of the seasons that turn. The meaning of the seasons is so charged that it goes beyond the snow and heat. It extends into the mystery of the seasons of life, and all the relations of living. The wheel turns and time folds in on itself. What emerges from this motion is the potential for more and more meaning. New meaning. Fresh meaning. Fresh light.

The wheel is really a generator. A maker of more light. The pages turn but the fire burns.

I began to think about the existential side of time. Some time is “heights” and some time is “depths”. Some time is more middle ground. The heights of time are the joys, the unbridled laughter, the perfection of a day. This time rushes over the body like a shower of effervescence. There is no possible way to deny the body’s ownership of such time. It is embedded. It isn’t turning on an abstract clock. It is burning in the heights of one’s heart.

“Depth” time carries a force of memory and a sense of belonging. Depth time can anchor you “home” or polarize you to “true north”. It can also sink you with despair. Depth time carries the echoes of your ancestors, and the echoes of your most desired dreams. Its gravity is also undeniably in the body. It can easily smolder with the blend of heights. It can threaten to dampen the fires of joy. It does best when feelings are interpreted truthfully, and handed off to the logic of the middle ground.

“Middle ground” time is for managing the business of living. Our bodies are blessed with the genius of nervous systems. All of the information and interaction that we encounter gets integrated into the “system” of the body. The world is wide and full of information. The body is deep and full of mystery. The middle ground is where these places meet. Biofeedback has evolved for centuries. Our systems are cutting edge. The middle ground time is the coolness of logic, the sureness of morality, the sensations of physicality.

My new question was: if time is a wheel that turns, how does this other “time” move? Is there any order to it? My instinct said yes.