Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Of Cheetahs and Oxen

The years like great black oxen tread the world

And God, the herdsman, goads them on behind.


Time is an odd concept, or at least one that I cannot grasp very well. In a sense, perhaps a very big sense, it seems an abstract idea to me. Although I am told that in the world of physics and Einstein, time is a very real thing, it doesn't always seem very real to me. And I suppose that it also depends on who's doing the telling because I now recall having posted something like this before and someone (madcap mum perhaps?) took some issue with the previous viewpoint. Me? I'm much too simple, not to mention lazy, to resolve the science, and, frankly my dear, I don't ...

On one hand, time seems very real. I mean to say that we all reference weeks and years on an ongoing basis. Those units provide a frame of reference that we really can't do without. On the other hand, they exist almost solely for our own reference points. Not completely, I suppose, because I do understand where the measurements of days and years come from — the relationship between the earth and sun, of course. But now that I've breathed air on this planet for almost six decades, I realize that I don't have a true sense of time. In an instant of thought I am transported back to boyhood, and I relive an event and its concomitant emotions. It is current in my head, not forty or fifty years past.

In a sense, I have been breathing air for an eternity: my eternity. In my own interior sense of time, I have existed forever: my forever. In another sense, however, I feel as though I have lived for but an instant. I am naught but a flickering candle. Yes, time is totally paradoxical to me. As I am paradoxical to myself because I had no thought or intention of prattling on like that. No, I simply thought to tell you how busy I seem to get and how many days pass before I realize it.

In the past four days we have attended a wedding and a celtic jam, watched the Wimbledon finals and part of the World Cup championship, taken in the Scottish Tattoo in our local park, and driven into Ottawa to complete several chores. To me, that's more cheetah-like than oxen-like (see quote above), and I guess it's that sort of notion that led to my cryptic and confused ruminations of the preceding paragraphs. I quite get the very apt oxen metaphor, but ... but I won't repeat myself again ... not just yet anyway.

I had begun to change this blog template with the seasons, but I find that one-quarter (give or take) of summer has already cheetahed past, and I still have my spring template up. Or at least I did until just now. This one, featuring a photo from Monument Valley, Arizona is a bit of a rush job, and there may be things wrong with it. For example: in the past, I have used a lot of little formatting styles which I haven't yet bothered to update. So, if you peruse an old post, you might see some pretty odd colour combinations. Maybe I'll fix those; or maybe time will continue to cheetah, and I won't get around to it. Who knows?

This afternoon, I have an appointment with our family physician. She's still new to me and I to her, so I am not much looking forward to this visit. Maybe that's why I let time dangle a bit and demurred over setting up this appointment, but demur I did — should have made it weeks ago. Speaking of weeks ago, as the cheetah runs, we've not been on our bikes for over two weeks now, and it's been even longer since I last worked out, not that I do it all that strenuously, but you get the idea.

I should be able to draw some sort of fitting conclusion to this post, but, as must be apparent to all readers, I am somewhat fuzzy-headed this morning, and will have to just let it go for now. Sometimes, you have to cut your losses and end the blog. Perhaps that's something that I have learned with time.


Dale said...

Every word, AC. I enjoyed every word. As always. All the time. And I like the new template. I feel peaceful, somehow. Thanks.

Bonita said...

I have found that time has gotten shorter since I retired. The day is over before I have gotten everything done that I'd like. I think it is because I'm not rushing anymore, and that sure feels good.

Gina said...

I like it! Especially those three little raindrops in the upper right corner.

Time goes by all too quickly these days.

-epm said...

An interesting reflection. Yeats wrote these words at the turn of the century... the 20th century that is, and I think it's illustrative of how the pace of our modern society is, perhaps, so remarkably different than that of Yeats.

We think nothing of driving twenty miles into the city to run a few errands (or ninety miles for breakfast :) ). Our computers and cars. Our cell phones and televisions. Our instant messaging and digital cameras. We wait for nothing and feel compelled to fill every moment of the day with action.

I can only imagine that in 1899, when Yeats wrote those words, people must have felt differently about space and time than we do today. Perhaps the technology -- or lack of it -- in Yeats' day made time seem like a plodding drum beat. Now, with our modern conveniences (or are the technical shackles?), our pace of life seems to increase with each bump in technology -- faster and faster, more and more. Faster downloads, more information, instant connections, custom ring tones, drive-through dining...

I'm dizzy just from thinking about it.

So maybe it's good to be conscious of every breath; reflective of every year. It's only when we don't take the time to reflect that we feel time has zipped by. But with reflection time slows down to a palpable rhythm, a heartbeat of existence, and stretches behind us and before us. Only then can we see all the colours, smell all the smells and deeply fell all the emotions our human souls so desperately need to be well.

Wash Lady said...

just wanted to say what a wonderful picture that is of you in the upper right corner. who took that when?

PBS said...

I really like your new template. Time IS a weird thing. I've journaled since I was 15-years-old and when I read some old journals the timing is not quite the way I remembered it! Some things are far more distant than I'd recalled, and some more close.

Darlene said...

Wow, what insightful writing, and so beautifully and lyrically done!

As for time, I view it as a cruel presence incessantly hanging over us, influencing our every move. We want time to stop or slow down when we're most enjoying what we're doing. We want time to go faster when we want to get away from an uncomfortable situation. Time rules us--controls us, where we in turn have no control over time.

mreddie said...

Let's see if I understand this - time is real but it doesn't seem real. You and time are paradoxical to you. You breathe air. You demurred about a doc appointment because you haven't been exercising. And you can't bring your post to a fitting conclusion because of being fuzzy-headed. Yes, I can relate to all of those, so don't feel alone at all. :) ec

oshee said...

Well thought out post. It almost has a swirling effect around me as I read it. Writing with motion..I like that..it suits you too.

I like the new look to your blog too. Although, I am partial to Arizona things. I love it here.

If you figure out how to keep time from swirling away from up and get it to line up orderly let me know. I could use a clear look down the time path for a few days.

Rainypete said...

I don't put a lot of stock in the scientific quantifying of the truly alastic beast that is time. With enough effort I'm scientists could reduce love to an algebraic equation too, but that won't make it any less mysterious or powerful. The thing I notice the most is that while we watch the seconds and minutes slip slowly by we seem to have no concept of the years that the pile creates. It seems that it's only when stood on your own personal pile of time do you get a clear enough view to put it all in perspective.

madcapmum said...

Aw, now I'm going to have to get off my butt and get more seasonal with my template too, ya keener!

I love that initial quote. I've never seen it before.

Valerie - Riding Solo said...

We've tried to whip this beast before and failed. While elapsed time continues to pass as the planets move through their paces, my perceived time speeds up all the time, except at work where it slows to a crawl.

So I guess, each of us sees and feels time pass differently and the math people will always do it their own way.