Monday, April 30, 2012

What is 1/3 of 2012

The answer is, Today. Our natural tracking of the year is by the seasons, more or less—and if not season then by months, but we don’t get very mathematical about it. But if for some reason you’re so inclined, April 30, with its 121 days (in a leap year), exactly marks the fact that one third of the year is over.

Odd phenomenon, time, when measured in this way or by the clock. What makes me aware of the length of time is waiting for the microwave to finish heating my lunch soup, for instance. The seconds roll off one by one, and I become aware of just how long, really, 32 or 19 or 12 seconds can be when that least pleasant of passive activities, waiting, has me in its grip. But in my natural mode of being, in which time has no real meaning, not in its nacked, ticking sense, sometimes, reading the end of a chapter in a book, I sigh and look at my watch—and behold, I can’t believe it, an hour has just passed in what seems like a flash—because I wasn’t really here. I was outside of time.

The illustration dates back to our exchange-student-hosting days; back then Anne from Denmark was one of our exchange-daughters. She gave us a fine porcelain oval to be hung from the wall. It hangs in that bathroom of ours with its new vanity. I see it every day. It acts as a corrective against vanities:



The late Piet Hein, by the way, was an accomplished scientist, mathematician, inventor, and poet with the gift of profundity and a light touch. Here is another of his nice short poems:

Atomyrades

Nature, it seems, is the popular name
for milliards and milliards and milliards
of particles playing their infinite game
of billiards and billiards and billiards

1 comment:

  1. "Atomyrades" could not have been penned by an American poet: no "milliards" here; we call them billions instead. Why is that so, I wonder...

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