This morning I read a science article about physicist beginning to accept that time is an immutable element in the universe. The argument explains that time is necessary for variations of life and objects to evolve. Whether it is geological formations and species evolution that require millenia to occur, or weeks or hours for bacteria and yeast to turn milk and flour into bread and cheese, or months and years for product design and development.
Many articles about quantum physics have attempted to explain time as something malleable with the possibility of time travel and reversal of time. Other articles have focused on new methods of measuring time.
Sailors and fishermen note the presence of time and its relationship to the lunar cycle, tides, and fish eating habits.
Workers lament the lack of enough time and the choices with how to spend their time in a perpetual struggle for what is termed the work/life balance. We organize our lives based upon time.
One day when I was in Baltimore, I walked to the Bromo-Seltzer tower to see what was there. It turns out it had been rehabbed into a collection of artist studios. Unfortunately I arrived just as they were closing. The docent for the studio tour was about to lock the door when she noticed I had an old Mamiya Twin Lens Reflex C330 around my neck. It is an old camera and was the first medium format camera my father had given me back in high school. It was quite old by that time.
The docent unlocked the door and called out to me. She told me that anyone walking around with that old of a camera needed to come with her to the top of the tower. We took a slow elevator to the top where she let me out into the room behind the clock face where all the clock gears and mechanism lived. I made a few exposures of film and then chose to walk down the flights of stairs slowly where I got to visit with several artist who were closing up their studio for the day.
As I watched the sunrise from my bedroom window and reflected on science’s attempt to quantify and define time, I found myself thinking that most of it seems little more than artifice.
Time seems to focus our attention on newness. Newness drives the economy. We seem to require new ways to accomplish the same basic tasks that support life.
When I spend time in nature I lose interest in modernity. I feel a deeper connection to a much longer strand of time. I feel connected to the seasons of the year, the stages of life, and the dependence on a sun that is over 93 million miles away.
The light I see rising through the trees is already eight minutes and thirty seconds old before it reaches my eyes.
With this in mind I choose to slow down.