The Lessons of Time.
A talk with Time when It stood still.
Exhausted and sore from the workout, I go out and take a seat on the bench facing the beautiful Hijaz mountain range. It’s 7 pm and the Sun is still quite up. Looking at the picturesque setting, I toggle to my smooth and dreamy playlist. As I was shuffling through the tracks, this healing and invigorating track from Oh Hiroshima came up..
Half an hour till my pick up car arrives. Perfect. Things have fallen into place for nature to paint an enthralling canvas for me. There’s a sense of tranquility here. And the song is having a trance effect on me. It’s me, the building chemistry between Sun and the Mountains. And there’s Time — the catalyst in the scheme of things. The inhibitor in the reaction, slowing things down.
Slowly, the force is building up between the Sun and the Mountains. Sun is red. It’s like the stillness before a kiss. Watching me immersed in this marvel of nature, Time snapped its fingers and paused the show of nature’s love, just in the moment when Sun’s delicate touch with the mountains created a sea of gold. It sits next to me and asks, “What is going on inside your head right now?”
“Every evening when I’m travelling back from work, I have the Red Sea for the company. I’ve never seen a sea this quiet, this stock-still. It reminds me of how different you are to this motionless gathering of gentle blue water”, I tell Time.
“As you are ticking away, the past is swelling and future receding. Possibilities dwindling and regrets mounting. Things I wanted to do, things I wanted to say, things I wanted to feel and the memories left behind, wish I could just gather and stockpile it all in this unstirring Red Sea. This way, I could always come back.” I said dejectedly.
Time, seemingly eager to answer, calmly points me to the landscape of blood-red streaks of twilight and the Sun pouring itself on the mountains, said “ If you just sit in the tranquility of nature and watch the life in front of you — sometimes I might freeze and maybe the world will stop rotating on its axis. If you somehow find a way to live in that moment, you learn to live. As I have traveled through the ages, I’ve noticed that people have forgotten how to and when to stop. They have become increasingly distant to themselves. There’s no connection. It’s terrifying, watching them running around and never stopping.” Stressing further, it continued “They forget there’s never enough time to do it all and have it all. I flow equally for everybody, yet they blame my brevity. I’m never running out, you are!” This sense of wisdom penetrated the nature of my mind.
It has been a month in this secluded yet beautiful desertous-coastal province in Saudi Arabia. Proximity to nature and isolation from the loudness of humans is what I always yearned in silence. A quintessential setting where you could express without any restraint. Unable to lighten the weight of not having anyone else to confide in here physically, I started opening up to Time. My thoughts started to pour over. In a dismayed, stuttering voice, I express concern about the uncertainty in life -
“Time, you terrorize me sometimes.
I’m scared of what you may bring and scared of what you may take.
Scared of not understanding it and scared of not being ready for it.
I dread thinking of my parents getting old and friends getting cold.
Your relativity confuses me.
Happier, merrier moments are like a thrill,
and the dull ones are left to kill. ”
I pause as I feel I’m intruding the very nature of the universe. The very nature of time.
“When I was fifteen, all I wanted was to go off to some other world, a place beyond anybody’s reach. A place beyond the flow of time.”
- But there’s no place like that in this world.
- Exactly. Which is why I’m living here, in this world where things are continually damaged, where the heart is fickle, where time flows past without a break.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
But Time understood the maelstrom of chaos in my mind. It looked at me like it was about to say something very important. Time exclaimed
“The universe works in a strict set of rules, you see.
Even I don’t know what will happen 20 minutes from now nor do I carry any baggage with me.
I only move forward,
unlike man, who has been looking for pieces of the past and wanting to sit on the edge of the future.
Running behind me or running against me-
only to go around in circles,
either longing for happiness in the repetitiveness of that moment and not able to hold on,
or an eternal battle to change the past and not able to let go.”
I was listening intently as it continued “You need to embrace change and adventure in order to deeply experience the life. And without experience you cannot learn, hence the scars that I give — to remind you of what you once had. I’m sorry to take what you are so afraid to lose. I really am. But, I will take it all one day, whether you want me to or not.”
I feel the Time melting , an indication of coming out of its spell. Drifting away, in a brief epilogue, it said — “value whom you love and what you have in this moment, without questioning how you got here or wished you could’ve done something different, and accept the present. Also, always remember, five minutes are enough to dream a whole life. That’s how relative I’m.” Time smiled wryly before snapping its fingers once again. I come out of the daze and watch Time disappear in the dusky sunlight and smoke.
The Sun Like a huge red drop dripped over the mountains. The sky was brilliant over the spot where it had gone, and a torn cloud hung over the spot of its going. Dusk crept over the sky from the eastern horizon, and darkness crept over the land from the east. I hear the driver honking, yelling : “It’s time!”.
“Yes! It’s time to run again.” I sighed while getting up.