That which is noticeable about time is interpretive. Or perhaps perceptual. If time exists in space, how we move through it is based on our awareness of it. But lack of awareness does not stop time. On the contrary, an inverse relationship seems to exist and the more focused we are on it the more aware we are of its' passage and the more we are able to participate in it. The more we are able to participate in it, the fuller it becomes. The fuller it becomes, the more manageable it seems. Time moves at a speed based on our attention to the individual components that make up each second.
Or, more simply, time moves equally whether we are distracted by what we are doing or whether we are sitting quietly and listening to our heart beat. So it is not the passage which we affect, but it is our perception or interpretation of the passage.
And I am right back where I started a half an hour ago.
I had a time story to share with you, and wanted to see if I can somehow capture some of the emotional quality of it.
Last October I went home. Not really home, because the building I called home at age 10 is no longer there. But I went back to my hometown, which I had left nearly twenty five years ago.
I grew up in the midwest, Illinois, about 100 miles south of Chicago. I went back to visit my step-mother and the change of pace was evident immediately. But one afternoon was particularly delightful, and I felt so happy that I was able to notice it as it happened and participate fully. I will probably carry the memory of it with me for many years.
It is the little things, and this was the tiniest of things. I been doing some work at her house and had stopped to run an errand. When I got back, I found my stepmother sitting in her living room with a male friend. It turned out that they had known each other since I was in high school, and that he regularly had stopped by to visit with her and my father, before his passing.
Normally I might have gone off to finish my work, but I sat. And became aware at that instant that the timbre of time had changed. Instead of racing past me blindly, I could almost see it move in small increments moment to moment.
The story is very cliche, and I apologize for that, but it is also true. We sat for nearly an hour and chatted and I listened to stories about their youth and where they used to work and how they had known each other.
And then the doorbell rang, and her son joined us. And we sat and talked and laughed and listened until dusk.
There was something perfect in those moments. Like being handed a bottle of mountain stream water after walking along a hot and humid road. And time was respectful of what we were doing and, although it did not stand still, it most certainly did move slowly for us. Or, at least we perceived that it did.
Copyright©2005 J.D. Warrick