• Melissa Volker

Time -- And Time Again

Time, time, time See what's become of me While I looked around For my possibilities I was so hard to please

Look around Leaves are brown And the sky Is a Hazy Shade of Winter

The Bangles: Hazy Shade of Winter

Time is relative, Einstein said. It depends on where you sit. GPS satellites have to adjust for the fact that time passes just slightly slower on earth than it does in geosynchronous orbit, and if you were to find yourself nearing a black hole, time would stretch…out…and…slow… waaaay…down relative to the rest of us a safe distance away.

Time is a thing. I notice with every passing year how much faster it speeds by, New Years one moment and year's end the next. It doesn't matter how much is jammed into that year or how little, how engaged I am or how detached, how much I accomplish or how little; none of that impacts the increasing speed of the passage of time.

So I begin to wonder: perhaps it is Einstein's theory at work, and when we are born and young, we are closer to our source, our beginning, our…nothingness; we have barely broken free of that which held us before we were physical and so the pull of that beginning remains powerful, its gravity warping time so that its passage is lingering and unhurried. We feel impatient as youth because time is, indeed, passing slowly for us, its leisurely current holding us back as we strain forward wanting the world to unfurl around us ever faster.

But as we age, we move farther and farther away from that central beginning, from that original nothingness, and -- like being farther from a black hole and its inescapable gravity -- we suddenly slingshot, our speed ever increasing, and frictionless, we hurdle, unstopping toward our inevitable end.

An object tossed in space will go on forever if nothing moves against it. So we, shot forward, have nothing to cause enough friction to slow us down. We may dig our heels into the earth, rake our nails along walls and railings, hold on to everything and everyone around us, but the force with which we thrown forward was so intense, so violent, so powerful, our meager human strength is no match.

And time accelerates. In a blur the years begin to spin by, moments bleeding one into the next with nothing to stop it. Sometimes a long, slow, meditative breath can pause. hold. wait. But it won't stop.

So while there are people's stories in my head, and chattering echoes of conversations and inner narratives, they do not make it to paper as of late. Because that takes Time. And there is a repeating pattern of feeling there is not enough of it. It takes Time to listen to those voices, to transcribe what they say, and get it right; it takes Time to let it spill, then to re-hash, then to let go into the world. And if I'm not sure their stories will ever actually be heard, or if their existence will ever have mattered, then they are just words on a page, voices in an empty cavern, and a waste of Time that there is increasingly little of left to waste.

If it is shouting into empty darkness, if it fails to echo but rather is sucked into some gravitational depth from which it can never escape, if its resonance is -- non-existent because whatever is inside looking to get out is too abstruse or internal to cross the breach from one to another, then it is squandered Time. Time that can be invested somewhere else where the return is greater.

We do not need to look out into the cosmos for proof of Einstein's theory. We need only look at our own lives, from first breath to last to see it. To know it.

Time is fleeting. Time is relative. Time is all there is until there isn't any more.

Pay attention. To where yours goes.

And I shall be a Scrooge with mine. I shall spend it where it does the most good, keep it close for those who matter and not lose it in black holes of nothingness where the light I've thrown in never returns.


It is all there is.

Until it isn't.

Seasons change with their scenery Weaving time in a tapestry Won't you stop and remember me

Look around Leaves are brown And the sky Is a Hazy Shade of Winter


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