Speed Lines

We must always look at things from the point of view of eternity,
the college theologians used to insist,
from which, I imagine, we would all
appear to have speed lines trailing behind us
as we rush along the road of the world,

as we rush down the long tunnel of time –
the biker of course, drunk on the wind,
but also the man reading by a fire,

Speed lines coming off his shoulders and his book,
and the woman standing on a beach
studying the curve of horizon,
even the child asleep on a summer night

speed lines flying from the posters of her bed,
from the white tips of her pillowcases,
and from the edges of her perfectly motionless body.

~excerpt from Velocity, by Billy Collins


I’m a speed demon – I love to drive fast, windows down, sun roof open, wind whipping my face and blowing my hair. I love riding my bike fast, working my way to the crest of a hill, the split second at the top before letting go, and then the flying down, almost airborne, keeping my balance only by the grace of God. Sometimes, in airplanes, I get this ridiculous urge to open the window, and feel the rush of movement at 550 miles per hour.

But I’m also a control freak – I like – no, I need – to be in control of the speed, to be pushing forward into it the acceleration, not at the mercy of it.

When I look in the mirror these days, I can almost see the speed lines streaming behind me.

And it scares me.

Perhaps that’s why I feel such an urgency about everything, why I find myself pushing and rushing to accomplish so much every day.

I’m just trying to stay ahead of my speed lines.

But that’s a losing battle, isn’t it? Eternity will catch up, and “the time will arrive to stop for good.”

Until then, I’ll keep pedaling as fast as I can.

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2 thoughts on “Speed Lines

  1. Boy did I ever relate to this post! I often look at things, at people, at me…and see speed lines. I never had a term to describe it before. Now I do and it’s so perfect.

    I’m trying hard to work on not feeling so crunched to see and do. I know it detracts from living in the moment and I fear that in the end I will feel that I missed what matters by trying to do everything.

    Thanks so much for the words and images to have as I work on it. And thanks for visiting Spatter.

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