The Nature of Time

I recently read a couple books simultaneously that shared the common theme of time. One was the briefest mention that time, in actuality, is a measure of distance. Most obvious in how we measure distance in space by light years but also in how we measure a day, month, year. A day is how long it takes the Earth to complete one rotation. No matter how close two people stand to each other they exist at different times and it is impossible to switch places and exist at the same time.

I can look across the room and see everything as it is now but it is still taking those light waves time to reach my eyes and then for my eyes to process that information and create an image. So while I can neither walk across the room to be there now I am looking backwards into the past even if the objects are mere feet away.

Time is an interesting concept and one that has baffled people much smarter than I. All our measurements of time are based on Earth things. What is time if we are in a vacuum? We couldn’t stop the decay and eventual death of our bodies. That might be what time is. A way we measure our experiences in life. It makes my brain hurt think about this too much. It is one of those questions that is fun to ponder but one we shouldn’t linger on as we are unlikely to find an answer.

On the flip side of time are memories. My family started to vacation in Virginia Beach in the early 90’s. That isn’t 100% true. My family started vacationing with me to Virginia Beach in the early 90’s. My aunt lived in Virginia Beach some time during the 60’s but as I wasn’t born until 1981 I remember none of that.

One of the places we would visit when we traveled to Virginia Beach was a small dairy in Chesapeake, Virginia. It has changed a bit since then. It is more a deli and ice cream shop than dairy now. They sell local milk but it isn’t their own, and the fridge that once held all sorts of dairy and meat products now has pies and sodas. It is very different in all but appearance.

You can still go into the main building and get an ice cream and then walk around visiting animals. The animals are more of an attraction now and they charge to visit them but it looks the same. At least according to my memories. It is hard to piece things back together 100%. I hardly think about the place unless I’m there and I couldn’t reconstruct it from memory if I tried. I remember getting milk from there, drinking too much of it, and throwing up in the backseat of my father’s car. That is about the extent of my memory of the place.

Still it is fun to take my children to a place I visited in my childhood. I want to do more of that. I want to show them my world. Open up the portal of time through my memories and relive parts of my life through their eyes. Observe how their experiences differ from mine, and they will differ. They aren’t yet two and I was 12 or 13 when I first visited the dairy. It is much different, but they can always go back and create their own memories and markers. Create their own experiences that will differ time and time again, and one day they can take their kids and have fond memories of me.

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