Time is a great teacher ... a great healer ... it offers much ...
Charles van der Stappen
– National Botanical Garden
of Belgium, Meise: Time's
mortal aspect is personified
in this bronze statue
We think the world stays the same – year in year out ... yet new countries are ‘born’ ... rather a lot recently .. the ex Russias, the split Yugoslavia, thirteen independents – think Namibia, the Marshall islands, Micronesia, then unification of the Germanies, while the Czech Republic and Slovakia separated.
The tiny Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten divided by French/Dutch rule – in September 2010 Sint Maarten became a constituent country of The Netherlands.
|First Puffin nests found|
on Surtsey 2004
New islands ‘pop’ up .. there’s a new volcanic island in the Red Sea that’s recently appeared .. will it last and ultimately have a name ... who knows.
A good example is Surtsey, south of Iceland, first appearing in 1963, two years later it was declared a nature reserve for the study of ecological succession; plants, insects, birds, seals, and other forms of life have since established themselves on the island.
|Europe 2006 - Iceland top left|
As children we have much to learn about the world order, but it is in later life that we start to understand the complexities of our planet and history .... I do understand now that no wonder I struggled collecting stamps as there were country changes then, or absorption by governments, or war ...
... I sort of grasped that the British (and at that time the Americas’) calendar had changed and 11 days had been lost in the 1700s on the realignment of the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one in 1752.
|Salvador Dali's exploding clock 1954|
The Republic of Venice and the Roman Empire changed in 1582, while Russia only realigned in 1918 with the advent of the Revolution, but Greece hung out until 1924 (is that telling us something?)
We were vividly reminded of change by Samoa and the Tokelau (an archipelago north of Samoa), which decided they would miss out Friday December 30th 2011 altogether and just switch sides! So they now reside as one of the first places on earth – not the last ... having “decreed” that the dateline be moved to ‘run’ east of their islands!
- volcanic activity
There’s a commercial advantage for these islanders .. at long last they are on the same clock wave length as Australia, New Zealand and Asia ...
... however 767 Samoans missed out on their birthday last year, and 43 wedding anniversaries would be cheaper too ... but employers had to pay for the extra (missed) day.
Seth Godin says there is an artificiality of time ... it was only once the railways came in and timetables (self explanatory really!) needed to be set up, did the co-ordination of clocks come into force.
We have to clock in and clock out, rush in ... rush out .... in the slow lane of life, set times for all things .... but now the internet opens up those time frames: how much time do we wish to invest in technical abilities and all that the net offers: those amazing opportunities available 24/7.
Time is static isn’t it ... Greenwich Mean Time is GMT and from here (as I just about sit) on the 0 degrees Prime (Greenwich) Meridian... all hours minutes and seconds are counted down according to the invisible GMT laser line ... from which time is calculated according to the Earth’s rotation.
But yet ... Maria Popova at Brain Pickings has uncovered “Just a Second” a lovely and refreshing book for kids, doubling as a curious and enjoyable trivia compendium for grown-ups (my kind of book!). Check out her post ... from the 5,085-foot water journey of a whales song, to the 50-beats of a hummingbird’s wings to the 300-foot plunge of the a peregrine falcon .... all happen in a single second.
A measure that the author, Steve Jenkins, points out is a human invention: “The second doesn’t relate to any cycle in nature – but it is the shortest interval of time most of us use in our daily lives. The Babylonians came up with the idea of a second about 4,000 years ago, but they had no way to measure such a short interval of time”
One compelling statistic .. 4 babies are born, 2 people die ... every second.
Going back to clocks that measure time – that standard of GMT, which we in Britain don’t even subscribe to properly .. having adopted British Summer Time during those months utilising more of the daylight hours.
FOCS 1, a continuous cold caesium fountain
atomic clock in Switzerland, started operating
in 2004 at an uncertainty of
one second in 30 million years.
The Chinese with their soaring aspirations in space are establishing a rival to the US global positioning system – and have hit the same snag with time that has prompted the US and others to propose the global replacement of GMT with the International Atomic Time by 2017 ... that of "leap seconds”. So it looks like time will be ‘ruled’ by satellites with atomic clocks in a few years.
Time may change, countries change, everything changes ... we last approximately 80 – 100 years, the Greenwich time has lasted 127 years so far .... countries come and go – people do not ... we are in a period of unbounded opportunity – the internet allows us that luxury of looking a gift horse in the mouth ... and not shying away ... allowing our dreams to come true, our goals to achieve.
Dylan’s last verse for The Times They Are a’Changin recorded in 1964 have been as prophetic as each of us wish to consider, at whatever tender age we happen to be:
“The order is rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'”
Opportunity does reign if we can grasp it – while remembering others who do not have our optimism and creativity .... help ourselves and in the process help others.
I quote from Steve Jobs: “Almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure. These things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose”
Happy New Year and a very good 2012 to you all.
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories