Just In Time

Goldenrod signifies that surrounding green will vanish as chill settles each evening.
  • Joyous summer has been devoted to considering time, when considering anything at all.  What should I mine from the richness of past memories, how should I conduct my present, what is the best way to deal with fears of the future?
  • Looked at in the broader view, the world continues to seem to spin out of control.  I try to encapsulate all fleeting news into a category of “entertainment.”  There has been an awful lot of such entertainment over the last few months. 
  • At a small personal level, time has pushed its way to our forefront, as we once again encounter nearly instantaneous growth of a young grandchild.   We are amazed at how much had been forgotten about experiences with our own children way back when.  But such immersion in each fleeting moment, and the rapid changes of days and weeks, have been instrumental to my meditations on the nature of my own years.

Gentle chill rain highlights first leaves displaying autumn color.

  • Einstein famously tied time, light, and space into relativity.  His theory does not match our  experience. Science declares each second equal to any other, but our perception ignores some hours, stretches other hours endlessly, and sharpens certain moments into near eternity.  We are left with nothing but memories of what we think happened as the clock ticked.
  • We learn to not worry too much about time, take it for granted more than the air we breathe.  Yet without time, there is no existence.  In fact, a case could be made that life is unique simply because it cruises through time in a manner different than other matter.  Our consciousness of time undoubtedly is what truly separates us from other animals.
  • We cannot manipulate time.  We can barely contemplate it.  A marvelous, mysterious, and integral part of our being.

Stormy sky along a deceptively quiet roadway shoreline.

  • Time closely resembles Western conceptions of God.  It is mysterious, omnipotent, omnipresent, fractal, and unknowable.  It begins our lives, permeates them, and ends them.  The present forces itself into our consciousness of all we are and do.  It even includes the all-in-one inexplicable trinity of past present and future.
  • An awful lot of religious arguments center on time.  If God is master of time, is there free will or is everything predetermined forever?  Can even time change the events that happen in time?  Even now, we debate what is fated, what can we change, what is overwhelming.
Asters indicate the season even without support of swift cool breeze.
  • Science tries to pretend that each chunk of time is constant.  I wonder.  Was an hour in the Roman Empire the same as an hour watching news tonight?  I know my evening and morning hours pass differently.  Is my perception flawed, or is science missing something important?
  • Science claims, for example, that exactly when a given particle decomposes cannot be predicted.  But maybe time, as well as the other properties of the universe, runs oddly at that level. 
  • Science, in fact, has no meaningful logical grasp of time as anything other than the grand, mysterious, unknowable entity it has always been to human minds since the beginning of _ well, you know.
End summer, begin fall, late flowers and dry detritus, elements of reflection.
  • If time were classically worshipped, its center would be “this moment.”  In spite of memories,  incredible vistas of eons opened by intellectual logic,  and imagining the future, each moment is all we experience.  Relentlessly.
  • This moment is unique, and yet seamlessly embedded with all others.  It is the only element we can truly know of time.  It flows by and through and around and permeates our universes more surely than any physical phenomena. 
  • Time remains so elusive that eventually we ignore its majesty, take it for granted, and just go along for the ride.  As indeed we must, to exist.  Like this essay, delving too deeply is basically futile.  And now, I turn from such useless philosophy to a glorious day before me, grateful for its length and breadth and, yes, for its infinite and unknowable mystery.



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