Acervatio (ak-er-va’-ti-o): Latin term Quintilian employs for both asyndeton (acervatio dissoluta: a loose heap) and polysyndeton (acervatio iuncta:a conjoined heap).
Sunrise. Sunset. Mid-afternoon, 3:00 a.m. We look at the clock and we look at our watch, and everything is encompassed by time, and there is early, and there is late, and there is right on time—timeless, timely. The variations on time indicate it’s ubiquity. It passes. What does it mean?
It means we are finite beings aware of life’s eventual end—another mark of time written across the surface of our soul. It is a blessing and a curse.
I new I had drifted onto a new life course when I lost my time consciousness after a near-fatal motorcycle accident in a dust storm near Mesa Verde in Colorado. It came out of nowhere. The wind was so strong it tilted my motorcycle to a 60 degree angle. My mouth was filled with grit and I could hardly see. I tried to straighten my motorcycle. It was stupid. My hand came off the handlebar and the front wheel lurched to the right. I crossed white line flew off the highway, hit a small boulder and flew over the handlebars. I was probably going around 35 mph by the time I flew off the motorcycle. The brake lever had caught me in the stomach. I was wearing only a T-shirt, so the lever punctured my skin and gave me a pretty good gash. When I came to, I saw I was bleeding pretty bad. I pushed off the motorcycle from on top of me and tried to stand up. I couldn’t—the pain was too much. I was going to die by the side of the road, in a dust storm, in Colorado. Then, there was no time, none, zero, zip. I had lost my sense of being there. The anxiety that always threaded it’s way through my life was gone. There was no memory, no hope, no consciousness, but a small voice wishing me well.
There was a trading post across the road from where I had crashed. I reawakened as I was being pulled across the road, laying on a beautiful Navajo blanket. I felt weak and passed out again. When I woke up there was a young Navajo woman sewing up my wound. There was some yellow cream she had smeared on it that totally removed the pain.
I healed really quickly, had my motorcycle repaired and resumed my journey to anywhere. Having lost my time-consciousness I was like a leaf in the wind. Then, I called my mother and landed back on the clock: “Where are you? When are you coming home?, Do you know how long it’s been since we heard from you?, School starts again in a couple of moths! Your little sister wants you home now!” It was like somebody stuck an air compressor in my ear and blew away the quality of life I had been given.
“Whoosh! Look at me, I’m being in time!”
Definitions courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (rhetoric.byu.edu).
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