When the Clock No Longer Matters

The clock tells me it is just after seven o’clock on a Saturday morning. My brain tells me the time is much, much, much later than that. My brain tells me time no longer matters, because it’s too late. Too late for the clock to matter. Too late for time to have any bearing on what happens next. Too late for anything. Too late for everything.

The clock might as well be deconstructed into its original component parts: iron ore, petroleum…no, even earlier than that.

All the way back to the formation of the rocks that formed that ore.

All the way back to the point at which bodies of dinosaurs and the earliest plankton were settling at the bottom of seas that no longer exist, just beginning their journey toward forming petroleum that would, millions of years in the future, be extracted from the ground to make plastics.

Even earlier. As if “earlier” had any meaning in the absence of time.

Everything has origins. Multiple origins. Beginning with the stars of distant galaxies and culminating with the stunning combination of just the right processes and just the right ingredients and just the right environment and just the right time to result in…that spectacular something that captures one’s attention and holds it in awe.

What happens, though, when “just the right time” no longer exists? How does origin end? And when? “When” will no longer have meaning when time ceases to be. “Too late” evaporates into a meaningless mist.

Nothing will matter. Time will have scurried away toward the demise of everything. Origins will no longer have meaning, nor will endings. All the hopes and dreams and monumental expenditures of energy and passion that once drove humankind to expand beyond its capacity to survive will simply vanish. No tears. No expressions of mourning.

But there may be a seed left behind. A tiny seed that might recapture time and give it new meaning. A seed that, from the moment it arouses from the soil until it reaches maturity as a magnificent tree that reaches beyond the sky, will measure time and return it to its right course.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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