The term “déjà vu” is French and literally means “already seen.” Those who have experienced the feeling (up to 70% of the population) describe it as “an overwhelming sense of familiarity” and (according to www.howstuffworks.com), the phenomenon is “rather complex.” Swiss scholar Arthur Funkhouser suggests that there are several “déjà experiences” and breaks it down even further into sub-categories such as déjà visite (already visited) and déjà vecu (already experienced, or lived through).
Theories abound, from mystical to medical, while scientific studies show that a higher number of incidents occur in people 15 to 25 years old than in any other age group, which certainly leaves me out of the equation. Psychoanalysts attribute déjà vu to “simple fantasy or wish fulfillment,” while some psychiatrists ascribe it to a “mismatching in the brain” that causes us to “mistake the present for the past.”
Come to think of it, it seems that my share of déjà vu experiences did actually happen when I was younger, and while I considered it eerie back then, these days I attribute it to old age, coupled with a keen understanding that I have indeed, seen or done it before. As one summer fades, and another autumn begins, I’m reminded of the Steve Miller Band and its anthem “Fly like an Eagle,” which declares that “time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” In other words: here we go again.
Last week, my personal calendar rolled over, as I quietly acknowledged Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and I once again began to take stock, deep in thought, prior to Yom Kippur (the day of atonement), which commences this Friday night. In point of fact, the 10 days in-between the two holidays are considered the “high holy days” culminating with “the most solemn day in Judaism,” and while I would not describe myself as “overly religious,” I do embrace my heritage and take both “celebrations” seriously.
As the autumn leaves begin to fall, I can’t help but wonder how many holidays I have left in me, often vacillating between sentimental waves of nostalgia and a maudlin overemotional sense of déjà vu. In truth, the illusion that time is speeding up is just that—an illusion, and I have to remind myself that it has actually been a year since I last reviewed the one before, which momentarily soothes my jangled nerves.
While preparing The River Reporter’s photo booth for the third annual Honey Bee Festival held in Narrowsburg last Saturday, I wondered how it would differ from previous years, aside from the absence of folks from the Guinness Book of World Records literally counting the number of people who attended dressed as bees. Grumbling about the predicted heat wave, I had to remind myself that I had had the heat on just days before, and was in no rush to see snow on the horizon. Again.
Described as “a day of education and demonstrations… filled with some sweet fun” the festival was less frenetic this year, and the parade was, well, more like a smallish group of people ambling up Main Street in search of lemonade and shade. Still, everyone had a great time, and I love seeing the kids (and adults!) decked out in sparkly wings and antennae celebrating all things honeybee.
In a tribute to irony, I have to keep my distance, since I’m actually allergic to honey, and when in close proximity will literally (cue groan) break out in hives. There was some wonderful live music, a plethora of vendors’ booths to peruse and as promised, educational and informative presentations, along with some good old-fashioned fun. As folks flocked to our photo booth, a wave of déjà vu washed over me as I (once again) took hundreds of eerily similar pictures, and (for something completely different) more people were interested in saying hello to my dog than me.
I can’t help but admire the community effort that goes into these country festivals and applaud the ingenuity, creativity and dedication that is entailed. These things don’t “just happen,” they involve months of preparation and determination on the part of volunteers who tirelessly toil away, in order to enhance, entertain and enrich our lives. And for that, I am grateful.
Next up? “Pumpkin Fest 2017” (www.barryvilleny.com), which takes place on October 7. As always, the free community event will feature contests for pie eating, scarecrow designs, pumpkin decorating and prizes for the costumes worn by kids, adults and pets. Familiar? Yes, in the best possible way. As baseball legend Yogi Berra would say: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
To view pictures from The River Reporter Honey Bee Fest photo booth, visit www.Facebook.com/theriverreporter, tag your pals and share the pics with friends and family. Again.