There and Back Again

Lughnasa                                                 Waning Honey Extraction Moon

A birthday really marks the spot on the earth’s orbit where you were born.  So, it is not necessarily a function of time in a linear sense, but the count of revolutions on the (roughly) same path.  In other words even the years of our lives do not, at least in this sense, refer to the passage of time so much as they do the passage of the earth around the sun.  I like this because it helps me have a concrete understanding of my years.  I have, for example, gone round the sun 64 times and am about halfway through my 65th.

A space-time co-ordinate.  When we add in our linear sense of time, occasioned by the evident aging process that ends in death (entropy at work), our birthday becomes a space-time co-ordinate, fixing our birth in the 4-dimensional reality of space and time, or Minkowski space.   Our birth date locates not only the 3D version of our birth–the physical locus of our birth–but establishes a reference point in some standard measure of linear time.  In the West we tend to measure time in relation to a fixed point occurring around the birth of Jesus, but it could have as easily been the birth of Socrates or Alexander or Cleopatra.

Linear time, as we measure it, has this odd pliability.  We have no fixed point in reality against which to mark its passage, unless you count revolutions around the sun; but, then we end back in the cyclical view of time, the type of time measured by the Great Wheel, because to indicate linear time we still have to agree on which particular revolution starts our series.

How many revolutions ago was Caesar murdered?  How many revolutions ago was Confucius born?  How many revolutions ago did Homo sapiens emerge out of Africa?  We still have to place our tent peg, our starting point somewhere and it will still be in revolutions around the sun.

No matter how hard we try to escape into chronological accounting, our human estimates still return to our revolutionary experience, the root source, which is, and always will be until we leave this planet for the stars, cyclical.

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