Friday, January 4, 2013

Asylum Walk (5)

The adult patients lingering near our games could see back to us, to some version of children playing from their own lives, just as we and they could see back further to even younger children playing. But we could not see ahead, and did not try to see ahead, to their adult lives even though in some cases these would resemble our own. Just as they could not see, and perhaps did not often try to see, what life awaited them in the future.

Image: A road, people making their way along it. Sight complicated by drifting mist and reflective surfaces. At stages (a simplification, since it happens by degrees) the travellers change costumes and habits. Those further along the road have more confidence in their backward looks, since they have come all that way. Worn those clothes, done/said those things. They have more confidence in their looks ahead, too, a confidence based on trends. Patterns of change observed and experienced. The trends are strengthening and debilitating, the latter from their tedium and their tendency to become self-fulfilling. Most of the early walkers—and a proportion of walkers at every stage—do not look ahead often or with any earned or assumed discernment. They fantasize, treading the interval they’re on.

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