It seems like only yesterday that I was wishing everyone a Happy New Year at the dawning of 2013. Or is that just me, being a year older, and once again falling victim to the cognitive illusion that time speeds up as we age? Or, is it all the fun I’m having that’s making time fly?
Well, whether time does or doesn’t (speed up, that is), it’s certainly a sign of age that I’m even considering this as a topic for discussion. Young people have a very different sense of time. I’m sure my grandchildren aren’t sitting around, pondering this phenomenon. In fact, they’re probably complaining about how it feels like forever until they’re old enough to have their own I-phones.
In any event, whether it took twelve months (real time) or twelve days (perceived time) to get here, a new year is indeed imminent.
Well, we’ve made it to the end of another year. And in spite of predictions to the contrary, you might have noticed that the earth as we know it was not destroyed on December 21, 2012. That is, unless you’re still hiding in your underground shelter and are not planning to emerge until your beef jerky and bottled water supply are depleted.
I had an inkling that the Doomsday interpretation of the Mayan calendar might be incorrect when I noticed with some relief that the gardeners in my neighborhood, most of whom hail from south of the border, did not throw down their hedge cutters and walk off the job. Instead, they went about their business as if it was an ordinary day. Honestly, in the face of an apocalypse, would an untidy lawn be of any consequence?
Minutes before we humans begin to stir in our beds, the dogs know. They are pacing around the room, instead of lying quietly on the floor as is their way on every other morning, patiently waiting for signs that the day has officially begun. This morning they are awake and alert, with two sets of imploring eyes fixed on us, as if their intensity alone could levitate us from the bed. Then, when it is my husband, and not I, who is the first to respond, to sit up and plant two feet on the floor, they are certain. It is Sunday and my old, arthritic yellow Labrador retrievers begin leaping with joy!
Mah nishtanah, I want to say to my dogs. What makes this day different from all other days? How do you know it’s Sunday? I scrutinize my bedroom for physical evidence. The clock reads about seven o’clock, the same time we awaken every morning. The same amount of light slips in between the crack in the draperies covering our east-facing windows. There are no unusual sounds; no church bells can be heard. And yet they know.