This summer, the classic re-reading is Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, a slow read because every page sings such resonant song about the past and memory and ruing and reviewing a life. And it contains such extraordinary sentences: “Time flaps on the mast. There we stop; there we stand. Rigid, the skeleton of habit alone upholds the human frame” (74).* How often do we discover that indeed habit has gotten us through a week, a month, a year, and left us wondering what happened to all the time.
My college edition is so old the pages fall out one by one like leaves at the beginning of fall, like the memories that drop away from us over time. One memory that recurs–walking down Sacramento Street in San Francisco to Chinatown. Near the corner of Taylor and Clay, the sun illuminates the brick building on one side of the street so that it shines in the bay windows of the pale-colored townhouse. And every year the distortion changes. Tone-mapping heightens the contrast in these two, from 2008 and 2007, respectively.
[* NY: Harcourt, Brace, & World, 1959–though I am sure this old book was printed in 1975.)