IMAGINE THE FIGURE 8
I Live on a rock where the sea meets the Earth. My boulder is silver in tone when dry and slate black when wet. I am a Rock Snail, or as you may say, Periwinkle. The ocean's tide is my twin brother and alter-self. For many days I have been trying to tell him of my new concept of time by way of my discrete snail language. With my wet and sticky trail, I have been sketching out the figure-eight or infinity symbol relentlessly, only to have him wash over it again and again. I believe he has finally caught on to the meaning and scope of my subliminal messages, as he speaks of it now with enthusiasm to our other siblings, the primal elements.
Water, "I want to speak of the concept of time that my snail, by way of his patterns of trails, has inspired me to come up with."
Sister Earth listens intently as well as brother and sister Wood: the spruce and pine trees above me. Our two-spirit sibling Fire burns in a pit on the shore nearby, with a rare and distant brother Metal, suspended above it. Our oldest sister, Wind has just arrived refreshing us all with her cool summer breath.
Water begins again, "Imagine the figure-eight, just like the one this snail has drawn on its rock with his glistening trail. It is similar to the Infinity symbol, is it not?"
Fire, " Yes, it is- I am quite familiar with it, as I have scorched it bare many times in my attempts at cleansing libraries of their outdated records." At this comment, all my other siblings shutter in their own peculiar and funny ways.
Water," Well.. if one was to attempt to come up with the most simplistic and realistic image representing the dimension of time, I think this infinity symbol says it all in the best possible way. Is everyone with me,..can you agree? Can anyone offer something more basic and elemental than the figure eight?
Winds speak’s carefully, "The snail's trail does illustrate it very well. The concept of time is most likely NOT linear, as the scientist known as Einstein theorized. I believe it's best thought of as circular and spiraling. Better yet - a circle twisted upon itself and in the process, creating a central mid-section, exactly like the number eight and infinity diagram; this is an ancient symbol, so let's go with it!"
Metal speaks, "First of all, understand that the idea of time is entirely man-made." Several young girls in pastel-colored frocks run singing and laughing around the fire pit. A woman appears from the nearby house, perhaps their mother, and dumps a bushel of clams into the heated metal pot.
Wood sister, " Yes, so true, their linear measurements have been etched upon my trunk since I first encountered their existence."
Brother-wood, ", I'll say, mine too."
Wind, "Nonetheless, It is a system attempting to organize the steady and regular cycles that we all now and witness, known as change.
Wood Brother, "The seasons for one, as well as sister Earth's constantly shifting continents." All the Elements nod in acceptance, except for Metal, who has no ability to move unless melted by his brother Fire's burning charisma.
Wind, " Well, go on with your concept; I have a busy day ahead."
Water, "Lets now try to locate the main aspects of time on the snail's sparkling diagram. The first and primary one being the present moment of course."
Wind, "The only one with any significance or importance actually."
Sisters Earth and Wood, "That's so true!"
Water," Where exactly would one pinpoint he present; on our figure-eight?"
Metal, "Where the lines overlap in the center?"
Water, "Yes, precisely, does everyone agree?"
Wind, "That's the most obvious spot. "Wood brother," I believe that is correct." Sister-Wood, "I do perceive that's the ideal spot for it."
Earth, "This idea is still obscure, but I can accept that placement. I personally see little importance of getting lost in such abstract ideas - I much prefer appreciating the present moment as it is now before us in all its glory."
Fire, "I could so easily ignite that little spot in this present moment of thought."
Water, "Moving on, lets now try to locate two other major aspects of time on our diagram; what are they, and where should they go?."
Earth, "Okay, are you referring to the past and the future?" Water "Yes, exactly!"
The wood siblings in-unison," The past can best be shown in the downwards sloping line from the Present moment, and the future on the upward spiraling line.''
Wind, "THAT'S VERY CLEVER INDEED!"
Metal and fire speak together," It does make sense. Yes, that makes sense, doesn't it?" My twin water remains mysteriously silent as he splashes us all with ocean spray.
Wood brother, ' In observing such an ideal placement, let's acknowledge the profound idea that it's telling us now."
Wind, "The past unites with the future, and vise versa."
Metal, " I understand that several ancient cultures describe the future belonging to the past and the past pertaining to the future. They tended to view things in reverse this way."
Sister wood," Of course the past is the opposite of the future."
Water, “Maybe If one looks far enough into the past one can see the future?” Fire," It's all relative." Everyone laughs.
Water, "Einstein's concept of relativity has always been too complicated for me to grasp. My hopes with this new, simplified concept are that many more people like me will be able to comprehend it easier."
Earth, "What does this say about God and eternity?
Water, "That's funny you ask because I think the last major and most elusive element of time is the eternal. Where on the infinity symbol shall we try and locate eternity?" All my family members ponder this essential question as the sun comes out from behind a cloud and warms me and my seaside home.
Water speaks softly, "I, from my experience with meditation; when I am thoroughly in the moment and able to follow my flowing nature thoughtlessly,...Just by focusing on the repeating sounds from my waves, I have experienced glimpses of what feels like the eternal or the immense expansiveness and connectedness of the universe. So I would conjecture to place the idea of the"Eternal" opposite the present moment. On the backside of the diagram, where the connecting and continuous swerving line passes behind the center spot."
Wind, "Through my meditation practice, I am somewhat addicted to that sensation of bliss and endlessness, expansiveness, it's so much longer-lasting, and superior to any drug I've ever experienced, behind the present moment seems to be the righteous place to pinpoint eternity."
Fire, "I actually create the essence of eternity and am by my very nature the manifestation of meditation, I do not have to meditate because I am an ongoing meditation."
Wood Sister, "Until someone puts you out, my love." She looks at brother water. Wood brother, "Stay clear from me, you rascal."
Water, "There is one more term I'd like to mention. It refers to the imaginary space, or unmeasurable segment of line on either side of the eternal placement, I call it the Continuum."
Woodbrother, " The definition of Continuum I believe, is - a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptively different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct."
Metal, " That's interesting!"
Water "What does this tell us of the nature of the universe and God, as you asked earlier Earth sister?"
WoodBrother, " It's continuous, ever-expanding and evolving,...endless." Metal, " There's really no such thing as time, better to say, Timelessness.
Fire, "In my Purest form, known as energy, I have been around more than most of you. From this source, I have manifested as I am now in the formation of flame; with my eternal sparks, I have helped create civilization for all humankind."
Woodsister, "Is this where we all show our cards?"
Wind in a fury of inspired insight, "I have innate knowledge and experience with time being infinite, ever-changing and expansive. Together with my fellow element, or even I dare say dimension known as Sound or better yet, wavelengths and vibrational currents, echos. I have seen our powerful sibling Energy/Fire ignite itself through the encouragement of an all-knowing and compelling voice, then expand and compress and compound onto itself into a black hole, only to emerge again as a ball of energy, the sun. I witnessed matter over eons settle upon itself and condense until my sister Earth was formed. Somehow, maybe with the combinations of certain liquid gasses, water appeared on Earth, and with Sound's most heightened
vibrations, she sang life into being. With the warmth from the Sun, Flora and Fauna of vast diversity sprang forth all over. I helped spread their seeds from landmass to landmass and saw the evolution of nature itself. I know that through many long repetitions of the solar system, I have, with help from my sister Earth's sand, eroded massive monuments of stone. With you all, Water, Fire, and Earth, and Metal also we have brought vast and great civilizations to obscurity, have seen them buried deep below the surface of this planet, and then rebuilt them all over again...Please excuse me, I have much to think about from such an interesting conversation, Thank you water, Earth, Wood trees, Metal and Fire, you too lovely snail. I want to take my time to run it through my thoughts at my leisure, I must leave now, goodbye, my loved ones!"
With her instantaneous departure, an overwhelming feeling of humidity and stagnation appeared before me. My Brother tidal water caresses me his farewell for the afternoon and leaves a dark, liquid touch upon my home-space.
I am happy to have shared my thoughts and to have had them appreciated this morning. I draw out a new and different type of extended spiral on my rock while enjoying the continued banter of the Wood-siblings. Metal, soon chimes in with his logic, and the occasional comments from Earth peep in. The young girls on the beach whisper secrets and continue laughing in their pretty sundresses. Fire is all but quiet except for random sounds of hisses and crackling.