Time Passages

Palyati Fouse

What I thought would be a throw-down,
I cannot reconcile on paper.
Time is too elastic

Wander in and out of its threads
Finding ourselves here or there
Late, early, or perfectly
Stretching the ultimate

Decisions made by impulse
Decisions made by thought
Decisions made by others
Decisions made by fate

However so, we arrive
The ending of our lives
However so, we arrive
Never satisfied.

The impact was violent and sudden. Pea size shards of green light floated fascinatingly in the air. The marbles were approaching slowly at a staccato like speed.  I could count them. My head had already bounced off the driver’s window and was travelling to meet the peas when the car snapped left and slid sideways into the slushy snow.

The alarm clock is set for 3:45 am. I got home about 10 pm after working 15 hours. I have to do laundry before leaving the house at 4:20 am to get to work on time the next day.  Before I know it, it is well after 11pm. I barely close my eyes and the alarm is ringing.

I start one thing, get distracted, start another, check e-mails, a website or two, pay a bill, or wash the dishes, look at the clock and only a half hour has passed. Why won’t that important call come through?

For children time goes so slowly, and as they age it speeds up.

Speed skaters thrust their feet forward to meet the finish line. Races are won and lost in hundredths of a second. Hundredths.

The recent 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile changed time by 1.26 millionths of a seconds according to new computer-model calculations by geophysicist Richard Gross of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. 

Governments artificially decide what time it will be and where. For example, the Aleutian Islands in Alaska that are over the International Date Line, are forced into a time zone making it a mere 6 hours later than the Eastern U.S. Time Zone when earth time should be more like 8-9 hours later.

Jump into a jet, fly 12 to 14 hours and, zip, you find yourself on the other side of the planet, seriously jet lagged, however.

Some stars in the night sky are already extinguished, but their light continues to speed toward our range of vision. As we look out to the universe above us, we are actually looking back in time.

Yogis and meditators expand time. After sitting in meditation they are surprised when an hour or more has passed claiming it seemed like five or ten minutes. They say they don’t know where they go, but are aware, not asleep and definitely not riding in an airplane.

And there are the time warps, out of body experiences, astral travel, and, yes, missing time.

What is it with time? When the need is there to go fast, it drags, when more is needed, it dances lightly, laughing brightly, mocking desperation.

Have you ever played with time? It’s fun to experiment. Time is its perception. If late, deliberately slow down, stop thinking, manage the anxiety. This seems to make the perception of time slow down making more time. It works, occasionally. In trying to make time speed up, well, that is another story.

That’s the elasticity and relativity of time. Time at this moment is dragging as I try to absorb a single sentence of research as to what Albert Einstein calls “time dilation”, incredibly small, and astoundingly measurable increments of time, say a millionth of a second. Einstein predicted and it has been proven that time slows even when flying in an aircraft. The faster you go, the slower the time. Ah, so that’s why the airline pilots and flight attendants look younger and airplane interiors never seem to change.

Before Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was proven, poet A.H. Reginald Buller cleverly wrote:

There once was a lady named Bright,
Who traveled faster than light.
She set out one day,
In a relative way,
And returned on the previous night.

Time. Without it, our clocks and watches, the world as we know it would be at best disorganized, at worst, chaotic. It is the glue that keeps the world from being random. It makes it so families can have meals together, friends can meet for coffee, students can attend classes, and organizations and governments can waste endless amounts of it attending meetings.

And, frankly, that is about all I can take. My brain hurts and there is more, much more, so many concepts to explore. But that is for another time.

(Image by Pranlobha, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries)