When you were born, the longest cycle you knew was eating. A few hours.

A little later, you understood the cycle of a day, or the cycle of mommy leaving for work and coming home.

By elementary school you could start to feel the cycle of a year – birthday to birthday, Christmas to Christmas.

We live our life in cycles. School years, semesters, birthdays, decades, generations.

The more cycles you experience, the more you can start to feel longer cycles. You can’t feel the cycle of a decade until you’ve lived a lot of years. Understanding the cycle of a life takes a lifetime to feel.

Even longer cycles – the life of a city or a country, an era, the climate – we can only comprehend, but not feel. I can put my hands around a year; I’ll never be able to feel the Baroque era in the same way.

It’s a struggle to want to understand these bigger and bigger things, but to know that you can never make them as visceral as the things you’ve lived again and again.

Acknowledging that they will not escape the intellectual is important.