The Passage of Time


Time is a fickle thing. It flies, it crawls, it stretches; it even disappears. It can be broken into pieces—“sometimes”; repeat itself—“time and time again”; stretch on infinitely—“all the time”.

How does it do that? Is it really playing so many tricks? Surely only a living, breathing being is capable of such feats. Can it really pass through space, when the common saying distinctly separates “time” and “space”? Surely it’s just a figment of our imaginations.

Maybe our collective imaginations?

Common knowledge dictates that time travels slowly during unpleasant (dull, monotonous, tedious) situations and travels quickly during pleasant (fun, exciting, rapturous) moments. This suggests that perhaps, time is like a child.

When watching it, the child is innocent, standing before us and lingering as if it enjoys our company. Yet as soon as our attention is taken by something else, she darts away, hiding, playing, teasing us until we pay attention again.

The biggest difference is that the lingering presence of time becomes boring, whereas the lingering presence of a child is much welcomed.

Maybe, instead, time is a wandering spirit. Because the spirit is not of our world (even though it might live in a very close, parallel world) we only see the smallest glimpses of its behavior. We only come into contact in passing moments, and only as much as she allows us to. Our observations are the only evidence we have of how she works. Hence she is shrouded in mystery. We can never gain a full picture of who she is and what she does. She is instead elevated to legend, and we can only weave fantastic tales about her identity and her supernatural abilities.

Or perhaps time is the completely opposite—maybe it is the constant force that pervades every aspect of our world. Maybe it is such an engrained aspect of our lives that we only notice its presence when it does something strange.

Is it really acting strange? Or are our paces changing so often, much like the thoughts that whirl through our heads, that it only seems strange from our point of view?

Science seems to tell us that time is constant. If all of our clocks measure time at the exact same pace, then certainly time itself cannot be shifting.

But if time is a constant force, like the marching of feet across a weary street, how can it seem so different from one individual to another? Even when we’re experiencing time within the same stretch of time?

Wait. Are there, perhaps, two times? Or multiple? Or…even an innumerable amount of times? Are they nested within each other, sometimes switching layers with each other, some layers brushing some of us while other layers envelop others?

Is time a collection of beings, not an individual?

Surely time must be a civilization unto itself, with its own customs and citizens, a world barely fathomable to us, who simply wander through, unseeing.

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