Tuesday, June 23, 2009
If you could save time in a bottle ...
I'd use it like salt, keep it in a shaker and sprinkle it throughout my days, to bring out the flavor of life here, to cover up bitterness there. In bulk, I'd use it to preserve.
And I remembered one of the things from "The Screwtape Letters," I think. where ol' C.S. noted that "time" is one of the things that we God's creatures feel so ROBBED of so often even though nothing in the world, or the church, suggests that we, ever, own, or have, even for a fleeting moment -- ha! excuse me -- TIME!
I'd rather let time be free, and when we cross paths in ways that tick me off, well, I bet I've done the same to it so the score comes out even in the end.
You can stop time at the vent horizon of a black hole where it is forever a "now" that is cold stopped. Or you can stop time for your spirit by realizing that you are eternal and only now touches eternity.
I have some thyme in a bottle.
Anyway, I was thinking about time and a black hole and about how time might be "fuzzy," too. That maybe we could go back in time if we had access to enough energy, and if we could, what would we do? (Ignoring all the science, of course, that says time can't be change.) What would I do if I had time in a bottle?
Below is a poem from a poet who died in WWI while serving at the front with the French Foreign Legion. Alan Seeger is more famous for his poem "I Have a Rendezvous With Death", but this is a favorite of mine.
Here's to you tech and anon.
by Alan Seeger
A shell surprised our post one day
And killed a comrade at my side.
My heart was sick to see the way
He suffered as he died.
I dug about the place he fell,
And found, no bigger than my thumb,
A fragment of the splintered shell
In warm aluminum.
I melted it, and made a mould,
And poured it in the opening,
And worked it, when the cast was cold,
Into a shapely ring.
And when my ring was smooth and bright,
Holding it on a rounded stick,
For seal, I bade a Turco write
Maktoob in Arabic.
Maktoob! "'Tis written!" . . . So they think,
These children of the desert, who
From its immense expanses drink
Some of its grandeur too.
Within the book of Destiny,
Whose leaves are time, whose cover, space,
The day when you shall cease to be,
The hour, the mode, the place,
Are marked, they say; and you shall not
By taking thought or using wit
Alter that certain fate one jot,
Postpone or conjure it.
Learn to drive fear, then, from your heart.
If you must perish, know, O man,
'Tis an inevitable part
Of the predestined plan.
And, seeing that through the ebon door
Once only you may pass, and meet
Of those that have gone through before
The mighty, the elite -- ---
Guard that not bowed nor blanched with fear
You enter, but serene, erect,
As you would wish most to appear
To those you most respect.
So die as though your funeral
Ushered you through the doors that led
Into a stately banquet hall
Where heroes banqueted;
And it shall all depend therein
Whether you come as slave or lord,
If they acclaim you as their kin
Or spurn you from their board.
So, when the order comes: "Attack!"
And the assaulting wave deploys,
And the heart trembles to look back
On life and all its joys;
Or in a ditch that they seem near
To find, and round your shallow trough
Drop the big shells that you can hear
Coming a half mile off;
When, not to hear, some try to talk,
And some to clean their guns, or sing,
And some dig deeper in the chalk -- -
I look upon my ring:
And nerves relax that were most tense,
And Death comes whistling down unheard,
As I consider all the sense
Held in that mystic word.
And it brings, quieting like balm
My heart whose flutterings have ceased,
The resignation and the calm
And wisdom of the East.
To see lightning and not think
Life is fleeting.
I don't think he's saying *just* that lightning strikes transience into the hearts of the dullest of us, but also that not to think "life is fleeting" then really IS something admirable: not to measure this measureless moment in personal sentiment; to be naked of story when the lightning cracks.
I dig the salt shaker.