The idea of time is fascinating, don’t take my word for it, there have been a few notable people considering what time is for…ever. From philosophers to scientist and everyone in between, time has been talked about, pondered over, mathematically broken down, theorized, worshiped, feared, and the list goes on for shall we say eternity, haha. For some time is a linear path, for some it is dimensional, for some it is just a place that can be visited at any time. As a writer I am concerned with time as a time line for a story, the natural order of events that lead to circumstances or confluence of events. When I write I find myself at a point in time with a character or a situation and I am sometimes left unsure of their path forward. When this happens I practice what Einstein called ‘thought experiments’; he would let his mind wander without a distinct direction while considering a certain idea. As I consider my character, I am aware of their past and present point in time, and then I take that character and let them walk down as many paths in my head as possible. It’s like a lucid dream where you are aware of everything but you are not completely directing it; you just let it go wherever, sometimes something you would have never thought of happens and everything clicks.
One of man’s attempts to measure time mechanically and visually is the hourglass, a beautiful device in form and function; an object that is simple in its design but amazing in use, I love looking at them and watching the sands filter down by the means of gravity. Gravity and time, I think there is something there according to some of our greatest minds who have considered it. How sublime is the connection and combination in the most simple of artifacts. Sometimes the most simple objects and ideas are the most profound and sometimes the hardest to realize. I also love that with an hourglass there really is no end to time, once the sand has moved from the top to the bottom, simply flip it over and time continues. The shape has always intrigued me, one large end that gently narrows to a fine point in the middle, then gently expanding to another large end. The symmetry and design speak to something grander that we fail to truly comprehend. We merely see what is before us without appreciating the greater truth behind it. The shape once again brings me to life, time, and writing; there were many paths and possibilities in the past which brought us to the present, that one point in time where you are now, nowhere else, and ahead of you is infinite possible paths that expand before you. Life’s timeline is like an hourglass on its side if you consider the linear timeline, where your past was a full of possibilities leading you to one point and your future is a mirror of the past with just as many possibilities going forward. For me, it’s fascinating.
Time fly’s, time is fleeting. We kill time. We waste time. We lose time. We watch time as it goes by. Time drags by. Time marches on. The list of sayings goes on and on. We love the idea of time sometimes, a good time and sometimes we are under a time crunch and maybe we don’t love it as much. When we are having fun time races by and when we are bored time slows. As far as we know our time is limited and most struggle to make the most of it. I look back over my life and understand where I am now, then with a little trepidation I look forward. Often when I think about this I see the hourglass standing there with the sands constantly moving from one end to the other and I understand that it will not stop. Other times when I think about my time I see the hourglass I imagine on its side as a timeline representing the past, the present, and the future but my perspective is different; I don’t see time my time draining away in a race to death or whatever, I see so many possible paths before me and what an adventure it could be. Perspective is an amazing thing and something I love to ponder often. So I have to ask, is your hourglass half full or half empty? Do you see the sand running out or do you see the many and varied paths ahead? I try very hard not to dwell on those small grains of sand telling me what I already know, that one day I will find out if my time is limited. Personally, I try to see the hourglass on its side and envision the journey that hopefully I get to choose. It may not turn always turn out the way I thought but I do prefer a little mystery, a little suspense, and I am a sucker for a surprise ending.