I’m looking out my window at the trees in the yard, an apple, oak and cherry. Today, it’s raining so they look more grey than brown. I feel a sense of gratitude that they’re there, to shield the house from heavy winds, to block the sunlight on hot days, to provide fruit. I admire their beauty.
And I wonder, if a tree could sense time, what would that sense of time be? Think about how different time would be for a tree, or a snail for that matter. They both move at so much slower or different a pace than we humans do, and their world, for so many reasons, is so different. They’d miss and be totally unable to concern themselves with almost anything we concern ourselves with, yet they’d notice changes, elements of the world we are blind to.
As we speed up or slow down time, like speeding up or slowing down a video, we change how we see the world or the pace at which everything appears. Our sense of time is the sixth (or seventh?) sense. Time is, after all, the rate of change.
Lately, my sense of time has frequently been warped. Right now, I can see the rain falling. I can’t see the wind, but I can see how it bends and shakes the limbs of trees and bushes, and how it affects the flight of birds. And I hear it. Oh, how I hear it, all around me, pulling at my attention.
And I can remember how different it was yesterday, when it was sunny, in the 60s, quiet, and I felt so calm.
And then I turn on the news. The pace at which my inner body moves speeds up. Even if we’re isolated at home, time speeds up. Worries about the coronavirus and how it is affecting family and friends, affecting our sense of security, are like the wind blowing, bending our limbs.
And then the political chaos turns the wind into a hurricane. On Friday, April 3rd, DT fires Michael Atkinson, the Inspector General who revealed the whistleblower complaint against DT’s quid pro quo with Ukraine. A few days later, he fires Glenn Fine, the Inspector General who was chosen to chair the oversight of 2 trillion dollars of pandemic relief money and thus asserts control of the money. He fires anyone who could speak the truth to his lies. On Tuesday, April 7th, the GOP turn a modern day election in Wisconsin into a primitive form of chaos, disenfranchising countless voters.
DT orders that on Friday, April 10th, federal funding for testing people for the coronavirus would cease. He plans to end funding that is helping to end the pandemic. Why? So the numbers look better and he can re-start the economy, declare victory, and sacrifice more people? But at the last minute, due to the objection of a bipartisan group of Congresspeople, DT reverses course. And the list goes on. The winds pick up in velocity.
DT does everything he can to speed up our sense of time passing so we can’t get a good grasp on our own inner world or the world around us. So we feel events are passing us by too quickly for us to effect. To make us feel powerless. To even age us and get us to give up and disenfranchise ourselves by not voting or not voting for a candidate who might defeat him.
But when we can slow down our sense of time, we feel more able to act. We feel more clarity in our thinking, more alive and ready to speak out. We become ready to revolt against the oppressive pace an oppressor purposely inflicts on us. And this adds not only to our emotional sense of calm but our physical ability to fight off a disease and reduce the stress we experience. We fight off an oppressor as we fight off an illness.
We can close our eyes, take a breath, and slow down our breathing. We can feel what we feel ⎼ feel one sensation ⎼ then another. We can feel one breath ⎼ and the pause, the quiet between breaths. We can hear the wind and the quiet between breaths of wind. We can feel the air passing over our face and the temperature of the air.
We can notice an image in our mind of a tree we love, deeply rooted, solid, yet able to move with the wind but not break, as we hear the world speak and we question how to respond.