Let it spill quietly
From your hands
Oh, and the time is at hand
When all things under the sky
Go free of time
- Murdoch -
Ever sense Einstein, it’s all been relative…supposedly.
When I was living in New Zealand, I had a friend living in China. The difference in meridians of time for the two of us was like living in Colorado, and he living in New York. Kinda Surreal. What made it so was that we were in nearly opposite latitudes. When we talked – in similar time zones – he was experiencing Fall into Winter; I was having my second Spring into Summer in the same year. We were living in the same “time,” but our experience of time was worlds apart.
I just finished this book called “The Girl Watchers Club” . The book is a conversation with six men, all around their 80’s who had involvement in WW2, and have been meeting regularly for forty years. There are some parts of the book that echo the stereotypes of old codgers talking about how “back-in-our-time…” All in all it is a good read, with a bit of sap on the side.
At one point in the book, they are talking about perspectives on time in the context of the sense of history kids may or may not have today. They made the parallel that WW2 is to kids today as the Civil War was to them at the same age. In other words, the closeness of that significant moment in time was not so far as to be ancient, but not too near as to be connected to them. Add to this is/was the reality that when they were kids there were plenty of old Veterans from the Civil War living among them, giving their opinions to anybody who would listen, but mostly written off as old and from a time that is better forgotten.
I am pretty certain there are plenty of similarities to how these guys perceived those old vets, and how they are perceived by youth today. Granted, you didn’t have many Tom Brokaw’s referring to the vets of the Civil War as “The Greatest Generation.” Time does funny things to our perspectives.
Last night I was talking about the inevitable day-light savings time change – the one we all enjoy because we got an extra hour added to the day…as if the U.S. government has so much control over the universe that they can add and subtract time. Every year, before Halloween, it is a topic of cocktail party discussions. What I found myself saying out loud was how absurd we Westerners are with time. It truly is telling that out of all the people in the world we tend to care more about time than most.
It’s not just the hours in a day that bug us. It’s the years in a life that really bug us. You read a book like “Girl Watchers,” and you can’t help but hear how pathetic we have become in our attempts to harness time. These old guys are not making any big plans for the future because they know very well that they will be dead before much more time has passed. Not to mention, most of them figured they would have been dead 60 years ago by some bullet or artillery shell from the Germans. They chuckle at the idiocy of our current culture’s attempts to prevent death. Many doctors actually see death as a disease that can be cured. The fools we are as men.
So, by now, you might be wondering where the hell I am going with all this; feeling like your time might be wasted just reading this far..which might be true. It’s just that “time” is something I think I spend too much of trying to figure out if I am using it well; how I tend to forget time is more friendly than we are told; that God seems less concerned about time than I am, and when I choose to live with that perspective I tend to enjoy that much more the time I am given.
The only guarantee in life is that we are going to die, that our "time" will end; everything else is up for grabs and not amount of day-light savings is going to hold back that tide. That everything else is up for grabs makes this whole thing so damn fun, adventurous and interesting…..