Welcome to Night Vale

Here is the truth of nostalgia: we don’t feel it for who we were, but who we weren’t. We feel it for all the possibilities that were open to us, but that we didn’t take.

Time is like wax, dripping from a candle flame. In the moment, it is molten and falling, with the capability to transform into any shape. Then the moment passes, and the wax hits the table top and solidifies into the shape it will always be. It becomes the past, a solid single record of what happened, still holding in its wild curves and contours the potential of every shape it could have held.

It is impossible not to feel a little sad, looking at that bit of wax. That bit of the past. It is impossible not to think of all the wild forms that wax now will never take. The village, glimpsed from a train window, beautiful and impossible and impossibly beautiful on a mountaintop, and you wonder what it would be if you stepped off the train and walked up the trail to its quiet streets and lived there for the rest of your life. All variety of lost opportunity spied from the windows of public transportation, really. It can be overwhelming, this splattered, inert wax recording every turn not taken.

‘What’s the point?’ you ask. ‘Why bother?’ you say. But then you remember — I remember! — that we are even now in another bit of molten wax. We are in a moment that is still falling, still volatile, and we will never be anywhere else. We will always be in that most dangerous, most exciting, most possible time of all: the Now. Where we never can know what shape the next moment will take.

Stay tuned next for, well… let’s just find out together, shall we?”

~ Episode 21, “A Memory of Europe”

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