Thursday, April 3, 2014

Tempus fugit

Time flies, as they say.  Though they've got it wrong.  "Tempus fugit" is Latin for "time flees."  Flies, flees...what's the difference, Doug?  There you go wanting to split hairs.

I admit that time does fly.  And we fly along with it.  How fast are we flying, you ask.  Well, faster than I'm comfortable with.  Let's look at one of the slowest moving things in our lives.  A day and a night, which we have labeled "24 hours." takes earth a whole 24 hours to spin on its axis and sometimes that is excruciatingly slow for us.  Sometimes it passes too fast as in "where in the world did this day go?"  But if you look at it relative, Einstein, to our measurement of speed, it takes on a new perspective.  If you were to suspend yourself above the earth's equator, it would still take 24 hours for you to watch it make one complete rotation, but you would be watching 25,000 miles pass by below you.  At just over 1000 miles per hour.  Hmmm....sure doesn't feel that fast does it?

Now, that's just the baby of speed.  Let's look at our trip around the sun.  Takes a whole dang year, doesn't it.  And, the phenomenon of aging and time passing faster aside, that's 364 1/4 days anyway you tilt it.  Although earth is a mere 93 million miles from the sun, its orbit distance is just under 585 million miles, which means we're zipping along at around 67,000 miles per hour.  That's a lot faster than a speeding bullet (6336 mph) and I'm pretty sure that even Superman can't go that fast.

Bear with me another minute or two because I'm almost done here.

I've always wondered why we don't feel these speeds?  I mean, they're mind-boggling speeds.  Agree?  Well, I understand that it's the same principle as when you're moving along in a car on a smooth road at 60 mph.  You don't feel the movement.  Unless there is an acceleration or deceleration.  So, since the earth's rotation and orbit is at a constant speed, we don't feel like we're moving.  And I know that you hope and pray as much as I do that we don't have any  sudden accelerations or decelerations.  That would probably mark a big day in our lives.

I won't go into the fact that our solar system is moving within our Milky Way galaxy at the rate of over 40 million miles per hour and that our galaxy is moving even faster than that.  That's not really what I wanted to say anyway.

I just wanted to make a quick statement about tempus fugit.  Time fleeing.  When my father was in his last days, as he lay in the hospital bed for the last time, I went to his side and asked if there was anything I could get him.  Was there anything that he wanted.  Anything.  His answer has stuck with me ever since and will stick with me for the rest of my life.  His head slowly turned toward me and he said in a quiet voice: "More time.  I want more time."

I couldn't give him that.  But in those words he gave me a gift.  I should use it more often than I do because it's precious and irreplaceable.  It's the knowledge that we need to take advantage of every second we have on this hurdling planet.  We should grasp every hour, every day as we shoot through space, and life, at breakneck speeds.  And if much wiser folks than me say that time flees, I need to believe them.  And I need to chase it with every ounce of strength in my body and with every thread of my soul.  I need to chase it so hard that it's constantly looking over its shoulder and wondering who in the hell is that lunatic on its heels.  It can flee all it wants, but I'm not going to sit idly by and watch it disappear over the horizon.

Tempus fugit, baby.  Move out of my way.

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