The fall equinox came and went last week and I, sweating in 100-degree Austin, passed it right by. Even after an entire year of thinking about seasonality, this September the change of seasons just wasn’t on my mind.
Where did the time go?
I know where my time went, actually. I lost it somewhere between Gogol, Dostoevsky, Emerson, and Rodó. Gradschool time is a weird kind of time, broken into fragments that have nothing to do with the ordinary 9-5. Class at 5:30pm? Meetings at 7:30am? Rock-climbing breaks in the middle of the day? But it’s also true that gradschool time blends together incomprehensibly. Did I just read for 5 hours straight? Is it true that I haven’t taken a break in three days? What happened to the weekend?
It’s a nice feature of gradschool, these long periods of free time in which to do what pleases you most.
This week, NPR is a featuring a new series about the history of time. The series’ premise: “The baseline crisis we must understand and confront is not one of economics, climate change, resource depletion or alternate-reality Republicans. Below them all is a crisis in time.”
The subject of our enslavement to the clock has come up several times on this blog: see for example A Time Without Time. I used the word enslavement: I obviously have concerns about timeliness. (Probably, if I’m being honest, because I’m always late.) It’s interesting to think about the fact that before the invention of clocks, most people knew it was midday, evening, dawn – and nothing more. What freedom they must have felt then!
No one in ancient Greece ever felt guilty for failing to write a blog post for two entire weeks, for example.
Still, the word “crisis” is a bit much. There was an article in the nytimes this week about Republicans and the apocalypse. Its greatest weakness was its emphasis on Republicans. Religious or not, we are all pretending to live in apocalyptic times, until time itself has become apocalyptic. It’s the other piece of the time crisis: the idea that time is running out.
Freedom from time, in my book, means the opportunity to read all night long. It also means the chance to live without fear of impending doom.
Still, I’m glad someone reminded me of the equinox.
Happy Fall! and for those who celebrate, Shanah Tovah.
66 degrees in Somerville and 67 in Austin. (but there’s a high of 101 today).
Hannah: 6 out of 10 on the “can’t get out of bed” to “jumping for joy” scale. Clearly I’m out of bed. But still sleepy.
Anna: 6 out of 10. Early morning-gym run feels good, but the stress of the day does not.
*Photo credit to Kohlin’s lovely flickr account, full of great photos of my (and anna’s!) home town.