Friday, October 22, 2010

The Present Joins the Past with the Future

"Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, times seems speeded up. --- Edwin Way Teale

"But what is time? What is its real nature? Augustine observes that time is essentially constituted of a past, a present, and a future; without this division it would be impossible to speak of time. But the past is not existent, for it has passed; nor does the future exist, for it has yet to come; the present is the moment which joins the past with the future." ~Radical Academy

Maybe because school-calendar-time starts up and soon after that, the new liturgical year begins, or maybe because of the way the outdoors changes, but autumn always seems to slip by so fast and bring so many things to the front view.

Kieron in football gear waiting to get to practice
  • Kieron had his last day of football practice yesterday, and tomorrow is his last game.   Much less driving around now, but it's a bit sad anyway.  Sean's season continues, but we're already past homecoming.  
  • Aidan found the book that goes with his sentence-building tiles and started reading down the list of words.  To my surprise, he could read over half of them.   
  • Aidan and Paddy are to make their First Confession in December of this year!  So by next Easter, everyone in our family will be able to receive Communion at Mass, which is an all-time first in our family.
  • I keep noticing how much our Australian Shepherd dog, Frodo is slowing down -- he is going to be 14 years old next month.
Frodo at age 14

The huge pile of firewood (8 cords!) outside is slowly dwindling as we stack it on the porches... but probably not slowly enough, since we are getting into the rainy/snowy season up here in the mountains.

 I finished reading St Augustine's Confessions -- which I started last Lent to read along with a friend. He talks a lot about time in the last three books -- talking about Time, Eternity, Memory and Creation probably isn't what most people end up doing when they are telling their life story, so it took me by surprise, but once I got up the courage to just read straight through, it was very interesting, though I didn't understand very much of it.

He seems to say that "past" and "future" can't be said to exist in the same way as "present" -- because the Past has gone by and the Future isn't there.    But Present is so tiny -- you can divide it into this Year, this Month, this Day, this Moment -- any particle of Time that you can divide is no longer simply the Present.    Part of this present day is already past, and so on.  I keep picturing this present moment as something like the very edge of the surf --  humans are so limited in only being able to actually BE in that tiny edge of time, yet they have a continuity too, in remembering the Past and anticipating the Future.  Yet it's only in that present moment that we can intuit eternity, as CS Lewis says.    It reminds me of how in space we are in reality moving quite drastically, both in spinning and in orbiting, yet we experience stillness, unless we move of our own volition.   Lewis says that the present moment is the only one that offers freedom and actuality -- the Past is frozen and gone and the future is not yet come.      Sometimes I feel, though, like there is a sort of temporal tempest -- the future keeps arriving into NOW so quickly.   Especially in autumn!

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