"The Childe...More restless than the swallow in the skies..." -Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Repeatedly, Wantonly Touched By Time

I have decided I do not like the phrase, "untouched by Time." Its linguistic beauty and thematic sentiment not withstanding, it is in fact a three-word dose of bull crap. Bull crap I say. The phrase in question was recently used in a photo caption for a marvelous photo celebrating a marvelous culture. There is no fault that I can see in the sentiment of this phrase. I should forgive the bull crap aspect of it. But I cannot. I am Jake. Hear me curmudgeonize.  Might have just invented a word. How bull crappish of me. If only my writing had been untouched by Time. The thing is...nothing is untouched by Time, except maybe photons at light speed, though us beings of matter will likely never know. MORE TO THE POINT, the subject of the photo I saw, like anything else to which "untouched by Time" might be ascribed, is invariably some person, image, or culture who has not only been touched by Time, they have been ravaged by it. The Grand Canyon, shall we say, has not been untouched by Time. It has been slowly and steadily groped by it until geologists of the present day can look at it like some audience members look at 50 Shades of Grey--which is to say, lots of ways but none of them involving an absence of touching. Show me a culture untouched by Time. Nope. They have all been slapped or run roughshod over by it. And somehow, despite Time's considerable touching of said culture, they have wound up looking more beautiful and noble than ever before. It is the very fact that Time has repeatedly touched them, and yet we look on adoringly, that makes them--ironically--worthy fodder for the phrase "untouched by Time." There. I've got that gripe out of me. It is what it is...they also say.