Starfish, trees and time

A lot of recent conversations have had me thinking a lot about time and about how the way we experience time is not the same for everyone. For instance, time for trees move quite slowly whereas time for humans moves very quickly.

I thought of sharing a gif of this time lapse clip of a starfish with fish as it expresses my thoughts on the difference in the how we experience time.

The starfish doesn’t seem to move when viewed in real time, but on the time lapse clip, the slow and small movements come into view while all around, fish dart about in quick motion.

I was talking about this today with my eldest son. About how time moves differently for everyone and how while we might like to think of time as moving at the same speed for everyone, it’s not like that for all beings. Perhaps, just as with the starfish gif, some of us may already be in the future while some of us are still sitting in the past or deliberating in the present. (This is of course very science fiction but I still want to hold that thought as I figure out stuff for the piece I’m working on.)

Basically, what I wanted to say was how while we are in the moment of living our lives, comparing ourselves to others is useless. Comparing our trajectory to another person’s trajectory isn’t productive or fruitful because time moves differently for everyone. As I said to my son, what’s important is to think about what you’re doing in this moment. Are you taking care of yourself? Are you nurturing your connections? Are you creating space for others? Are you thinking of what you are doing now in this moment?

Ultimately, our lives are our most important work of art. Whatever speed we move at is not as important as how we move in it.

Here’s an excerpt from the current work in progress:

“You’ll see,” Una said when Mahari had drawn closer. “Time unfolds differently for everyone, Mahari. You should understand this by now. After all, Iranira’s work called to you. You’re not here by accident but by design.”

“I don’t know about that,” Mahari said. “I’m not as gifted as you are.”

Una made a clacking sound and Mahari realised that the other cepha was laughing.

“What?” Mahari said. “You’ve got this amazing ability that no one else has. How am I supposed to compete?”

Una emitted more bubbles, the pattern on their skin shifting and changing as they gave themself over to amusement.

Mahari stopped and stared at the unusual sight. Like this Una was attractive. They were no longer plain skinned. Whorls of light seemed to ebb and flow all over their body.

“You children,” Una said when their composure was restored. “Oh, you children. It’s always the same with you youngsters. When will you understand that it’s not a competition?”

To you who are on the journey, never be afraid to dream.

( edited to add credits for the gif which was created by and belongs to Peter van der Post. Used with permission. )