Persistence

As a scientific phenomenon, the persistence of vision
makes it possible to see people
traversing time long gone and space far away.

What's lost in film, in video,
is the sense that the photograph gives
of a single moment captured in time,
as if each moment itself was eternal.

Something precious and holy exists that is revealed within a single moment
but it is harder to see when the moments pile one upon another and another and another,
becoming our lives.

It reveals itself again,
looking at moments slightly separated by time.

***

As a scientific phenomenon, the persistence of memory
allows us to believe that we are continuous beings,
a long thread running from birth to death.

I'm not sold on the idea of the thread of self,
let alone the idea that the thread runs forward forever,
in something at our core some call a soul.
But I am certain that if it does run forever forward,
it must run forever backward as well,
for there is no having a "piece" of eternity,
eternity, ex vi termini, is an all-or-nothing proposition.

If that's so, then we are all infinitely older than the universe itself,
resolving out of light,
and dissolving into it, forever.

—Carson Reed, March 2010