Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ray Bradbury: Long After Midnight, "One Timeless Spring"

Ray Bradbury
"One Timeless Spring"
Long After Midnight

"One Timeless Spring" is the second story in the collection, Long After Midnight.  Just as the first story, "The Blue Bottle," could have been a part of  The Martian Chronicles, this story, at first glance, could have been included in Dandelion Wine (DW) .  It's the story of a young boy who lives in a small town. Moreover, his name is Doug, just as the young boy in DW is named Doug Spaulding.

One difference between this story and the others in DW  is that it is a flashback tale.  Doug is looking back at the events whereas the others are told in the present, if I remember correctly.  I think it would take a bit of revision to fit it in.  Perhaps another reason is the tone of the tale.  It doesn't seem to quite mesh with the overall tone of  DW.

For example, the story begins

That week, so many years ago, I thought my mother an father were poisoning me.  And now, twenty years later, I'm not so sure they didn't.  There's no way of telling.

He begins a journal.

"'I didn't know I was sick until this week,' I wrote.  'I've been sick for a long time.  Since I was ten.  I'm twelve now.'"

Doug then decides he doesn't want to grow up (the Peter Pan Principle?); he wishes to remain twelve.  Is he afraid of growing up, of joining that mysterious and possibly dangerous world of the adults?  He remains adamant about freezing at that age, and then he meets Clarisse.

Since I read this story, I heard about and eventually read Bradbury's sequel to Dandelion Wine, the title of which is Farewell Summer and have come to the conclusion that  "One Timeless Spring"  actually fits in better with Farewell Summer.  The overall theme is the same:  a fear of growing up.


  1. i believe i've read these, but it's so long ago... anyway, i don't think i ever got the growing up thingie... looking back, i seem to have been looking in from the outside, wondering how they all did what they did... too late now, i guess; back to the old stand: reading, thinking, hypothesizing...

    1. Mudpuddle,

      It's been so long since I've read them that it will be like reading new books. Looking over the list of the novels, I find that in some cases I don't even remember the titles, so I might have missed a few way back when.

      The Taoists recommend staying young and flexible like a child and avoid becoming dry and rigid.

    2. fred: yes, i honor that; good karmatic advice...

    3. Mudpuddle,

      I try also, but some mornings. . .

  2. Fred, as a non-responsive comment, I offer you a question: you read Colin Dexter's book, _The Last Bus to Woodstock_, but will you be discussing/reviewing it? Within the genre, Dexter's books are among my highly rated favorites.

    As a more responsive comment, I have been accused of never having grown up. I don't know if that is an insult or a compliment. Life was a paradox when I was a child: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Perhaps that is the case for many of us.

    1. R.T.,

      I will post a short commentary in a few days.

      I think growing up was a mix for most of us, but those who remember the good see it as a good time, while others see their childhood as an unhappy one.

  3. I read this story a very long time ago.

    Bradbury's exploration of what it is to group up is such a common theme throughout his work. Having "grown up" with his writing, and still reading him as an adult, it is especially powerful for me.

    1. Brian Joseph,

      I've found that even what appear to be the simplest and most straightforward of his stories get deeper as I age.