Two decades into the second millennium. 2020. A new year seems fitting enough to pose the idea of time, and how our concept of time may not always agree with time in the context of our worlds natural order.
What exactly does time mean to you? Is it something to loath or to kindle? Are you comfortable with time, or do you feel as if you're always trying to race it and never quite catching up?
Mankind has found fascinating ways to track time throughout history. First perhaps with the stars and the aligning of planets, and then eventually to our means of tracking time today. Arguably, that means seems to be defined by how many tasks we can accomplish in a day, a week, a month, a year.
Today, it has become ever more commonplace to hear that folks are seemingly always at odds with time. That is, we feel as if we don't have enough of it. Always trying to beat the clock to accomplish this and that and dissatisfied because, at the end of the day, we realize we've accomplished only a quarter of what we set out to do.
The ancient Chinese philosopher and writer, Lao Tzu, once said "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished."
On New Years Day, ACT held the 40th annual Ilia Fehrer - Judy Johnson Memorial Beach Walk on Assateague Island. The words we use to describe something have a significant impact on how we may view the subject at hand, and, as such, I chose the theme for the New Years walk, Assateague Island in the Context of Time & Change. I wanted to let that theme settle with those planning to join in on the walk before they came out to the beach that day. It was a way of setting the tone for a speech that I had anxiously been waiting to give to a larger crowd for some time.
Bringing the philosophy of The Marsh to the group of folks that came out to the longstanding ACT tradition was an honor that I will not soon forget. That theme of Time & Change was used to explain how Assateague Island has long been in a state of constant change. The history of Assateague is one of shifting sands, migrating dune fields, extremes in weather from one season to the next, and plans for development. Yet, there is one constant that I believe has not changed on the island, and that is the spirit of the island, the energy that seems to find everyone that visits its shores. It is places like Assateague that allow us to slip away for a moment, rejuvenate, quiet the mind and contemplate our lives and the world in an environment that still remains largely absent of the ever increasing distractions that characterize our modern day society. Be it on a seashore, atop a mountain, deep in a forest, in a barren tundra, or among the cacti in the middle of a dessert, it is these kinds of spaces, these spaces of Nature, places that thrive naturally without the constructs of time as our society has come to know it that are absolutely essential for the sanity of human civilization. They are spaces worth protecting.
Part II of this piece will be available soon. Thanks for reading