I often stop and amaze at how time moves and the paradoxes that ripple from it and I am startled at how our surroundings change us – another by-product of its ebb and flow. The effects of that second hand ticking, sometimes silently, sometimes clanging in our heads, makes me marvel at the influence it has on everything and the ensuing enigmas it creates. How times change – no, no, I don’t mean grumpy-old-man-syndrome, but how the physical movement of that second hand of time changes things; obvious ones like seasons and aging, and then those that are more metaphysical – how it has altered me and others around me. This for me, translates into how “times” have changed. Some would call it nostalgia, others age – memories are, after all, that which we find hard to remember, and when we do, they instantly bring into focus a feeling or emotion rather than an exact recollection of what happened.
Memories: inaccurate recollections of our past tainted by age and moulded by time.
I recently learned that an old friend of mine passed away in the prime of his life. It was a sobering moment that called for a large whiskey and quiet recollection. I know some people who would, and do at times like this, wax lyrical and have eulogies and condolences that they have prepared for such instances – at one point in my life I would have done the same, blurted out banal sentimentalities: the hot air of false remembrance. But at moments like this time seems to regress and that regression, for me, tends to favour solitude, reflection and the inner peace it brings. So I decided to sit and think about him and remember him in that way rather than voice my sadness in inadequate words and ordinary tones. I thought about him, his parents, his house, his habits, his friendship and his god-awful jokes – back to the old nostalgia thing and emotions that it conjures. I remembered our antics as young men; I remembered his wit and humour and generous heart – the same heart that gave up on him because he was too liberal with it.
The second hand never stopped and continued its incessant ticking and we lost touch as time itself disappeared into a hole, only to reappear when he disappeared forever.
Why did we lose touch in this day and age of social media and video calling? Some questions cannot be answered in one fell swoop – the answers involve may little decisions taken for more minute, often unimportant reasons, that lead us down a path that, initially, seems to be running parallel to the one we were taking and then suddenly we realise that it has snaked away and we are not parallel anymore but heading towards an altogether new horizon for better or worse? Was it a fault on my part for getting lost in my own life or the second hand ticking years instead of seconds? Was it his love of everyone and everything that got in the way and meant that his time was limited – we tend to favour laying the blame on others right? Whatever the case, the hand ticked on and on and we grew apart and the question will always remain unanswered. It’s good that it remains as the chapter isn’t over and I will continue to ponder, reminisce and remember – for remembrance is what the passing of time is all about and a question answered is another one forgotten.
Now the hand ticks again and I feel that despite growing apart I miss him. Some say time makes it easier to deal with emotions of this nature, but it doesn’t, we just say that to make us feel better in the short term – what time does is that it hones some memories and dulls others; memories that can brighten any day or cloud the light. We think it is our subconscious that chooses, but is it? Or is it time and those ripples that decide it for us – the aging of our cells, the incessant toil for a perceived better?
I keep coming back to the questions that the ticking hand raises, which I am sure philosophers, intellectuals, and my betters have sufficiently answered over the millennia; in fact they may have posed others that add to the conundrum ad infinitum or at least until our universe gets squished by our black hole – which again raises the question of time bending, becoming malleable, disappearing altogether (that second hand raises more questions than it answers doesn’t it?). But that is physics and my concern is more with the metaphysical. Is it time or is it something within ourselves? We all know the answer to that question for it’s in us, however, do we ever sit and deliberate on it? I mean, do we, do you ever sit and think – letting your mind flit with no direction?
I heartily recommend it – this time bending experience… next time you want to do something useful like delving deep into your own sea of memories then take a moment out and do nothing.