This morning, I went outside to add to the bird-feeder and clean out the water-bath from the previous night’s debris. With the time change – yeah, I live in an area of the United States that survives on wobbly-time – it felt really odd to be outside during that time frame. I could feel that my internal understanding of time was slightly off. However, while I was out there, my local squadron of geese fly by, honking the entire way – at less than fifty feet off the ground. They seem to use the main road, which my property backs up to, as a sight-line for their travels. Its nice to see them flying back through my area again. But this post is about time – and not the passport stamps that should be issued for my local feathered neighbors.
Time is an interesting thing. We measure our lives against it. We have sections of a day allotted to our work, to our home life, and our sleep/rest. Currently, I am reading Ernst Breisach’s “Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern” – a survey of historical schools of writing throughout history. The very first school of historical writing comes from the early Greeks, but the entire arena of writings is difficult for historians to work because of the concept of time. Or rather, a more precise way to elaborate the problem is a LACK of the concept of time by the writers of that particular era. Without a central, agreed point of focus, the age of a writing in relation to other points becomes a difficult thing. In historical concepts, the central point of focus comes from the birth of the Christ-child – though the exact point in time is in a debatable perspective.
In our own lives, we can also locate other focal periods of history that can serve as similar weigh-stations. The signing of the Declaration of Independence. The bombing of Pearl Harbor. The morning of September 11th. Each are easily defined, easily agreed upon points of focus within a historical context. Each one could easily be utilized as a singular focal point towards an understanding of the measurement of time. Provided an agreement could be made concerning months, days, hours, minutes, and seconds.
All of this understanding of the measurement of the concept of “time” got me to wondering…how much of my own life gets ruled under this precept? My personal idea of a day revolves around the time-frames associated with sun-rise and sun-set. For me, the hours don’t really matter that much…its what I get done during the time frame that the sun remains in the sky. I spend far more of my time outside than I do inside…and to be honest, its just easier to get a lot of things completed during the time that the sun is out, then it would be to do so under a darkened sky. If I could remake time, would I worry about the number of days in a year? Would I count years in terms of those number of days? Would I utilize the concepts of months?? How different would time appear to me? Or would I even worry about its existence – provided I knew nothing or very little of it??
Considering my desire to move into the realm of historical writings and thought….this first step seems built more on faith than understanding….its certainly something that gives me a few moments of pause and reflection….