It’s About Time

Fall                                      Waxing Blood Moon

On the I-Google page there is a widget that shows the progression of night and day across the globe.  In Singapore it is Friday already, 12:30 p.m. Lunch time.  Here in the middle of North America we have blackness.  This is another of the rhythms of nature, the one so familiar it can come and go for weeks, months, even years with little remark.

Yet imagine a 24 hour period when the day/night cycle changed in some unexpected way.   What if at 12:30 p.m. it became night?  Or, what if, at midnight the sun came up?  No, I don’t mean the poles, I mean right here on the 45th latitude halfway between the equator and the pole.  Earthquakes challenge a core assumption we carry unknowing, especially those of us in the relatively quake quiet Midwest.  The assumption?  That the earth beneath our feet is solid, unmoving.  The regularity of day and night is also a core assumption, one we carry unaware.

It is these rhythms, day and night, the changing of the seasons, the growth of flowers and vegetables, their constancy that gives us stable hooks on which to hang the often chaotic events of our lives.  Even if a death in the family occurs we say the sun will come up tomorrow.  Flowers will bloom again.

Bringing these changes into our consciousness, the moon phases for example, can give us even firmer anchors.

They give me a feel for the continuity that underlies the messiness of human life and the apparent vagaries of time.  It is a continuity of positive and negative, yin and yang, dark and light, the dialectical tension between these opposites which cannot be without the other.  Taken all together they can give us a confidence in the nature of the 10,000 things.

They make understanding space-time possible for me, in spite of my lack of mathematical sophistication.  That space and time create a matrix which holds everything makes sense in a universe where day follows night and winter follows fall, then happens all over again in the next cycle.  This is not a linear model, it is not chronological, it is deeply achronological.