Bill McKibben, The Age of Missing Information
Random House, Inc.
New York: 1992
Blessed with light bulbs and dams, haven’t we simply figured out a new, somewhat more efficient way to order our lives? We don’t farm anymore, so why should we care much about the seasons or the length of the day?
Because, I think, living in linear time means living with a different, and in many ways poorer, set of assumptions than living in cyclical time.
On the mountain, feeling fall about to follow summer, I have a strong sense of what fall will be like—fall, not fall of 1991.
The precise year, or the decade, matters little; it is a repeating pattern, and I know what it means for my life—that it’s time to gather vegetables and can them, that it’s time to put wood up for the winter. I know this fall won’t be precisely the same as any other—a large part of rural conversation involves meticulous comparison of this year’s snow or heat with the snow or heat of every other year.
But I know they’ll be enough alike, unless there is a storm so huge it changes the landscape. And even then how quickly the cycle reasserts itself.