Where Does the Time Go

dali-clocks

Five minutes or more of waiting can seem to stretch forever, yet when I am engaged in something pleasurable, the moments vanish quickly into wherever time goes. When I look back over the years, they telescope, yet I remember three months in El Paso that while I was living through them, seemed like three years. It is quite beyond my comprehension, and perhaps that is appropriate because after all time is something human beings invented.

Did they do this because life as they were living it needed dividing up in order to be made orderly? Or was it because people needed to make appointments? Or even because there needed to be some sort of way to know the when of things? There are books that will tell you when calendars were invented, and who invented them, and others that detail the kind of clocks that first measured it. I haven’t read any that have told me why.

Sometimes to me time resembles a big clump of jelly like stuff. I try to hold onto it but instead it squeezes through my fingers and disappears. Finding time, using time, saving time…all these are illusions generated by my wanting to accomplish what I want to do when I want to do it. Perhaps I need to think of time differently. If I focused on what needs doing rather than trying to find the time to do it would I manage better?

To be sure, I keep lists of the tasks I hope to accomplish right now or in the near future: phone calls to be made, deadlines for submissions, household tasks to be done. Then there are other items on my lists that do not have a time consideration: letters to be written, information to be googled, piles to sort through. It is these that seem to revolve endlessly, making their way from list to list until I “find the time” to do them and finally cross them off.

Sometimes they fall off the list, never to be seen again. Because none of this type of task is actually necessary it seems more difficult to get done. It is also possible that they don’t matter, or else that I have given them more importance than they originally deserved. It isn’t always easy to know what is important and what is merely something it would be nice to do if there were time to do it. And there’s that word again: time.

Have you ever noticed that it can take the same amount of actual clock time to come home as it does to go somewhere, yet it seems to take much longer to go than it does to come home? This is just one more mystery I experience involving the passage of time. However, to be honest I usually find that I always have enough time when I focus on the doing part rather than the amount of time to do it. Perhaps that is because there really is no such thing as time at all.

Tasha Halpert

 

 

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Time is a Strange Accordian

Waters Farm View 3

When I was a child, school and playtime defined my days. My years were divided into summer and other vacations, weeks by weekends and school. My clothing was defined by the weather, although I do remember sometimes having to wear dresses in the winter, which even with knee socks were not as warm as pants would have been. However, pants were not an option then for girls. I also remember corduroy jumpers, and once I had a woolen kilt I dearly loved.

Later when I became a wife and mother, the needs of my husband and children determined the parameters of my life. Schedules were important, the days to do what was necessary, such as laundry and errands, intertwined with doctor’s appointments and school functions. The definitions of my life inspired these parameters, and helped me to maintain a sense of order. Now that my life has become that of a semi retired writer, the parameters and definitions have loosened up, yet even after all these years, they still exist.

The other day as Stephen began stripping the bed I shook my head in amazement. How was it possible that a week had gone by so quickly? It seemed as though we had only just done that. It is true that as I gain in years, time seems to have speeded up. I notice this most when I realize how quickly certain tasks come around again to be done.

I don’t have set days to do the laundry. Except for the day we change the sheets, I do it when it has accumulated to a point that it needs doing. However, the size of our washing machine defines the amount that can be washed at any one time. For instance, it will accommodate two sheets nicely; the pillowcases are better washed with another load of clothing.

Stephen and I write and send in our columns each week. That is another parameter. Whenever we may write them, Sunday is our deadline for submitting them. We don’t have a particular day when we grocery shop. That is done on an as needed basis. Being semi retired writers we have more freedom without the 9 to 5 limitations that people in the workaday world may have.

I get out our supplements once a month and divide them into daily envelopes. I am truly amazed at how quickly it becomes time to do this again. Thinking about the way that time seems to shrink or grow, I once wrote a poem with the line, “Time is a strange accordion.” When I look back the years seem to compress and five seems like two, with twenty becoming five.

Today the laundry, tomorrow the correspondence, my time is defined by doing. While I pursue my life the stars call me to gaze into their burning hearts where time is flame. The routines of my life do in some ways define my days, yet within the parameters of those routines there are poems to write and sunsets to observe, gifts to be given and hugs to be received. Making full use of whatever time I have seems to me to be the best way to enjoy life.

Tasha Halpert

Time and Time Again

 

Time has always fascinated me. It has been the subject of a number of my poems as well as some of my columns in the past. One aspect of it that interests me greatly is the variation in how fast or how slowly it can seem to pass. For instance, if I were to be holding my breath, a minute can seem quite a long time, yet if I were to be reading an interesting book, many minutes can pass very quickly and without making any impression on me at all.

I received my first watch for my eighth birthday. I was thrilled. So thrilled that I forgot to take my new watch off that evening and climbed into the bathtub still wearing it. It was an inexpensive one and not waterproof. I was devastated. My parents were always accusing me of being careless and here again was proof. It was several years before I was given another watch. This time I was a good deal more careful with it.

Once watches were a utilitarian tool people wore–on the wrist, on the belt, on a chain, or around the neck. Most adults had two, a plain one for every day and a fancy one for special occasions. In those days they were fairly expensive. While today, there are expensive watches, they are worn more often as a status symbol. For most of us, as a result of electronic devices, watches have gone from a necessity to an ornament.

Time seems elastic. When I am driving to a destination at some distance, it seems to take longer to get there than it does to come back. How strange! The distance is the same; absent traffic jams or other problems why should one way seem longer than another? One possible answer is that I am retracing my steps on the way home thus there is no question about how to get there. Still this time disparity seems to be true whether or not I have been somewhere many times.

The way time passes seems to be primarily subjective. Objective time is when I set the timer to remove the tea basket from the teapot, or to take something from the oven because it is done. Here there is no question of subjective time because it is ticking away on the timer and I am simply relying on that to tell me what to do next. I don’t even think about how long or how short that time will take. Yet if I am pursuing a deadline, time may be of the essence and so pass subjectively.

Although there were hourglasses or candles for short term measurement, for centuries people told time by the sun. Until the 19th century there were no standard time zones. They were set up in 1883 to make it possible to catch a train on time. There are those who say there is no such thing as time. That it is a purely human invention. This may or may not be true. Mystics have said that all time exists at once and we merely move through it. There seems to be no way to prove this. However in the future as it has in the past, the subject of time will no doubt continue to intrigue scientists and philosophers as well as me.                                    Tasha HalpertPeace Villae Bridge 2

 

About Time

Pictures of Italy '11 073

Oh what a lovely dance it is

the advance and retreat

of the tide of time

uncurling, unfurling buds of leaves

then painting them bright,

red, orange, and gold with cold

fingers whatever lingers.

Then white swirls bleach the brown

pristining the town and the countryside

until the tide of time grays down

the crusts remaining. Dancing in

and dancing out hours accordion

shaping the light, day and night,

over and over again.

The merry go round goes round

and the sound of the wind, and

the sound of the rain beat time,

and again repeating the long refrain

of warm to cold and light to dark,

brightening sun to glowing sparks

in the sky, as stars revolve.

The roundelay dance of time

circles us in and circles us out

as we with the seasons sing our songs

joining our voices to make a chorus

of all the singers from now and then

as time swings round and back again

with the swirl and swoop of stars.