Time. Tempus fugit. Time flies. (Mistranslation; it’s ‘flees’.) We’ve all heard it. Look at the words, the Latin words. See what I see? (Maybe etymology isn’t your thing.)
Tempus – time
• temporary – impermanent
• temporal – constrained by time
• temper (temperare in Latin, from tempus) – to mix, to dilute
• tempera – pigment mixed with water or egg, using for painting
• temper – to moderate
• temperance – moderation, delay of or abstinence from gratification
• temperament – a condition of mind and/or emotion
Fugit – flees
• fugitive – that which flees
• fugue – musical composition with various themes, one beginning and the rest following, chasing it as it flees
• fuga – flight, also ardor (interesting confluence of meaning, that)
• refuge – a place or state of safety to which one flees
• foog – Erin’s minced oath for the f-word, playing on the ardor connection and the chase after the (for women more than for men) elusive orgasm. (Yes, probably chosen for the pronunciation, but the subconscious is mighty, especially for wordsmiths with a hard-on for languages, like Erin.)
And so we come to the zen of ripples, visible demonstration of tempus having a fugit right there in front of god and everybody — not there, plop-there, chase after resolution, modulate in collision with the not-self, gone.
Time. We all swim in it, just as we swim in air. They are our natural habitat, air and time. We breathe the one; do we also breathe the other? Do our bodies extract nourishment from time as well as oxygen? Were time denied us, would we wheeze and claw and struggle and die, as we do if air is denied us? Is stasis then a way to live or a way to die? Stagnation is assuredly a death-way and is stasis not stagnation raised exponentially?
Stasis, stagnation – murder weapons, whether it be physical, emotional, creative, or spiritual stasis. Sometimes it’s self-murder, suicide; often we are constrained by, bond-slaves to, the lust of some Other for control, be that Other a boss, spouse, partner, lover, child, religious institution.
NB: there is a vast difference in moderation — societally imposed moderation ensures that we don’t wake up as the stranger/lover’s sudden hidden knife (‘she looked at me wrong, that’s why’) invades the carotid; institutionally imposed stagnation murders our souls, all for the sake of feeding a fetid ego. Not all religions do this; restraint does not equal stifling of another’s creativity. Our creativity is the only tangible and demonstrable way we are ‘made in the image of god’; the fact that we are creators by our very nature reveals the DNA of essence we share with the divine, who/whatever that may be.
Even creativity is grounded in time. We begin a project; we consume a certain number of the units of our lives in its development; we complete it. Allowing Biblical accuracy for the sake of analogy, god began creation, consumed six days in its development, completed it and rested on the seventh.
Some people know this on an astounding level, experience it, meditate upon it, and set it in our paths so that we, too, see it, if only for a fleeting moment. Ah, Tempus, what a whore you are, rouged and perfumed and humping to distract and deceive, while your pimp Mort waits behind the door for the precisely right moment to appear and roll us of our only true possession, our continuity from yesterday to tomorrow.
A few people drag Mort’s bony ass out of hiding and foog him thoroughly, making his existence not only inevitable but part of the very stuff of their creation, the ending of a thing as vital as its beginning. Some people like Andy Goldsworthy, who weaves Tempus and Mort into all that he does. He’s a far braver soul than I will ever be, striding up to them both and saying, “I’m having that, thank you very much,” while he snatches their own essence and foogs them completely. Most of us cower. Andy stands in the spotlight and has at it.
[images are of Andy Goldsworthy’s works]