A breech birth, I was born ass backwards and have lived my life thus thereafter. Disorienting though such a fate may seem, there are unique advantages to it. Had I been native born --- aboriginal --- my tribe would have deemed me one touched by the Spirit and accorded my eccentricities reverent indulgence…as it is, my condition permits me to recover (at least psychologically) all that I have squandered at a variety of tribal casinos.
There is much opportunity for virtue in such moving backward. It handily solves all problems of loss and of regret. One recedes through all one’s sins toward one’s original grace, through all one’s lost loves back to love itself. It is a movement counter to the movement of the world, the “long way ‘round the barn” to the future, a miraculous adventure fraught with peril, pregnant with surprise. It has the potential to resolve time’s thornier equations, to close the circle Alpha and Omega. A soul so constituted understands intimately the old saw that casts past as prologue. It normalizes déjà vu: what most call memory it experiences as premonition.
Though such an orientation may be rare, it is not entirely unique. Fitzgerald had a sense of this: see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Martin Amis turns the intuition toward the sinister in Time’s Arrow. Dylan sings of being “so much older then” and “younger than that now.” And Scripture speaks of a path whereon “old things are passed away” and “all things are become new.” Nor are literature and faith the sole incubators of such liberating illogic. Physics seeks to follow matter back along the warp of time to the origin both of matter and of time. Biology yearns to map the declension of individual genomes rearward to the discovery of the primal gene.
Some fleeting glimpses of these and similar wonders have I noted along the way, Burma Shave signs for the soul seen in retrograde as I accelerate toward my beginning.