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Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Marking Time

Living in Eternity

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire pistols.”
Thomas Mann

When you think about it, time is...well, timeless. We exist in a planetary system, tethered by gravity, that circles a bright star, and the movement of our planet around that star causes it to turn on an axis. When the side we live on is exposed to the sun, we call it day, and when it is turned away from the sun, we call it night. As the planet shifts on its axis, whichever part of it leans toward the sun has warmer weather, and when it leans away, colder weather; thus our seasons change. We humans are the only inhabitants of said planet that mark these changes by minutes and hours, days and months and years.

I watched “Catless,” the feral cat who resides on my front porch, as temperatures chilled. She gradually fattened-up by eating more, and she is content to stay for extended periods in the “cat-house” I've provided. Other than that, her behavior is consistently oblivious to the passage of time or the change of season. I, on the other hand, anguish about it and set out more food, which she steadfastly ignores if she's not hungry. Last night, I brought her inside and into the basement, because temperatures were plunging and I couldn't sleep knowing she was out there. She howled about that, and couldn't wait to bolt from the door this morning. Catless doesn't worry about time passing, or weather changing. She trusts her instincts to get her through.

I believe Catless lives closer to soul-time than I do. She was born, she spends her life doing what cats do, at some point her body will fail, and she will take herself off to die. She seems utterly unperturbed with the discomfort of this arrangement. She eats when she's hungry, sleeps when she's tired, whether it's day or night, summer or winter. She is completely comfortable in her own skin and free of worry.

I'm sure there are very good reasons that we have devised a scale to mark the passage of time, but I think it may cause us more anxiety than anything else. We use it to evaluate ourselves—“Oh, no! Another month has passed and I still haven't _____.” You fill in the blank. We use time to measure our progress toward success or failure. Truth is, we would be happier, healthier creatures if we were more like Catless. We live in eternity, and eternity has no sub-categories.

                                                            In the Spirit,

                                                                 Jane

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