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Claude Monet: The Departure of the Boats, Étretat (1885)

"Success emerges from such turbulence."

Time moves irregularly. This fundamental law of the universe might have been lost on physicists but not once on the rest of us, for we daily struggle to cope with time's inherent variety. Days, even those that measure of equal length, pass differently, with wide variations apparent if not always precisely measurable. Even calendars remain steadfastly unequal, with January days typically at least forty percent longer than June's or July's.

Attempts to rectify this obvious imbalance have so far resulted in worse, like the French Revolutionary Calendar featuring

twelve months, each divided into three ten-day weeks called décades. The tenth day, décadi, replaced Sunday as the day of rest and festivity. The five or six extra days needed to approximate the solar or tropical year were placed after the months at the end of each year and called complementary days. This arrangement was an almost exact copy of the calendar used by the Ancient Egyptians, though in their case, the beginning of the year was not marked by the autumnal equinox." Wikipedia

The French sought to rid their calendar of monarchal and liturgical acknowledgments and ended up mimicking the Ancient Egyptians.

We're clearly not dealing with regular shapes when encountering time. Typical of us, however, we employ the most regular of mechanisms to keep track of these irregular things: days, hours, minutes, and seconds. We experience the failures in ten thousand little ways. Waking in the middle of the night, I discover a difference between the time my alarm clock reports and the one my iPhone displays. They were not that way a few hours earlier when I carefully confirmed they were synchronized just before I fell asleep. I'd apparently awakened during one of those realigning periods, where the inherent irregularity shows its edges. I suspect that my competing timepieces were in the process of resolving their usual differences when I awakened and caught them in the act.

I continue moving toward my goal, however, whatever turbulence I encounter. I might consider myself blessed that I remain sensitive enough to sense the disorganization surrounding my effort. I can notice and rebalance myself, though I doubt I'll ever get to the point where I won't find these time wobbles disruptive. I'm growing to no longer even expect to encounter regular shapes. I distrust them, figuring that they're primarily illusions. Better, perhaps, for me to see right through them than to set my expectations in ways sure to disappoint me. I admit that I'm often surprised by the magnitude of time's variations, but I might finally be beyond finding these discoveries disappointing. Time shifts and wobbles without warning. That's just the way it is. Success emerges from such turbulence. Always has.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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