Sunday, September 14, 2008

There is Time

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant,
and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to . . .

 . . . well, that's the point, isn't it. The verse seems to be about doing things at the right time, but what it is equally about is time. Time comes and time goes, and when the time to do something is gone, it is gone. There will be new flowers next season, but they won't be the same ones. There will be new life, but it will be someone else's.

Time, it seems to this porch stoop philosopher, is the one constant that no one is able to escape. The wheels turn, the seasons come and go, the blooms drip, the boobs droop, the hair thins. The skin creams go on, but the wrinkles form anyway. We think when we are young we can avoid the ravages of time, but we learn better. *Ha, ah, ah (evil laugh)* The joke is on us.

We ignore the passing of time to our peril. Even though we are constantly admonished not to worry about the past or the future, but to live in the present, we can look at time passing, and he seems to be running away from us like a mischievous street thief who has just lifted our wallet. "Too late," he taunts as he turns the corner and disappears from sight, along with every opportunity we have let pass.

Time is not the only constant we need to reckon with. The other one that wrecks carefully laid plans and plays havoc with our deep seated need for security is Everything Changes. No matter how comfortable we get or how carefully we plan, sooner or later the transmission fails or someone gets sick or the job goes south, and we have to scramble to weather the storms created by the changes in our lives. Pandora opened the box and added the element of chaos to our lives, and we all must deal with it.

Enough about us. Here's the question I was puzzling on lately. What about ghosts? What about spirits? Are they affected by the laws of time and change? Are they unaffected by time? My guess, is they can't avoid the forces of the universe any better than we can. They may be in a different place, seemingly existing under a different set of rules, but even they can't change the laws of physics. They cannot stop the sun in the sky any more than we can. So, no matter how long a ghost has haunted a crumbling castle or treeless moor, their season of haunting may be longer than the average, but it will end, just like everything else, and something else will take their place.

Oh, did I mention? Another universal truth . . . we are all replaceable.