Traveling, as we all know, is a quite awesome way to spend time. You start at one point and end at an other one. But the amazing part isn’t crossing the finish line, it’s the journey itself. The time you spend on the road, the things you see, you experience, the people you meet, and way more. So you could say that the time you spend on your way from point A to point B is all that matters. If we look at that a bit closer, we can see that time is the important factor here.
Time per se is a tricky thing. We consider that past, present and future are three different levels. Like: “I started two weeks ago, now i’m here and in 4 days i’ll be back home”. But in my opinion it’s more like a “it’s happening at the same time” kinda thing. All three of those levels are not only influencing each other constantly, they are also happening simultaneously. We are shaped by the things happened in the past, things that brings us to a specific thought. A memory that flashes up in our brain right this moment and will probably affect the decision we’ll make in the future. A future that’s already happening, because the present is just a brief moment. A moment that’s already gone the second you start remembering it. Because if you can remember a moment, it means that it’s already passed…
While you’re traveling you can find one sign to this – let’s call it realistic time-traveling – everywhere on this planet. You just need to raise your head and look up, preferably at night so you can see them, the stars. A small dot of light breaking the darkness of the black and endlessly seeming night sky. Stars can be seen as a constant reminder of the past. Especially if we realise that the dot we see maybe already ceased to exist. The most common example would be the sun. We can see the sun, feel it’s warmth. But what would happen if it’s gone? How fast would we realise it? The answer would be, that we would realise that the engine of our life is gone, approximately 499 seconds after it happened – so something around 8 minutes. (Here for those who want to see the calculation: The sun is approximately 149 597 870 700 meters away from our planet. Light travels in a vacuum around 299 792 458 meters per second. So 149 597 870 700 / 299 792 458 = around 499 sec. The distance between sun and earth is also known as 1AU (Astronomical Unit).)
The night sky was (and is) used to navigate, calculate dates, give grieving people hope that their beloved ones are watching them and to remember great heroes and gods. They can show mercy and punishment. Especially in the ancient greek mythology, the ceiling of stars is packed with stories and memories. One of these ancient tales is the one of Orion. There are quite a few variations to the story about him. I’ll pick the points that are common in all of them, so that you can have a picture of him…
Orion, son of gods, a powerful and mighty warrior. His woman punished by Hera for vaunting her beauty. Hera, wife and sister of Zeus, threw her down into Tartarus, the underworld. So Orion fall again, but as it turned out, for the wrong women (at least if it comes to the others). Punished by the gods and shot with an arrow by goddess Artemis out of jealousy. Regret brought Artemis to raise him up to the sky – to become a sign.
We can recognise him by three stars lined next to each other. They are building his belt. The belt of orion is one oft the best known star constellations, as it is easy to spot.
But one is even more famous – the big dipper. It’s a part of the big bear sign. And if we remember the tale of Orion we can draw here a connection. An other tale of Orion says that he was the son of a Nymphe, one of Artemis creatures. Artemis is known as the maidenly goddess of the hunt, Patroness of huntsman and goddess of the woods.
So Zeus wanted the Nymphe and as it was common for the father of gods, he took what he wanted. As it was possible to see the pregnancy, Artemis transformed the Nymphe into a bear, which gave birth to a human boy – Orion. As he got older he saw a bear which he killed. He killed her because he thought the bear wanted to attack him. In fact it was his mother who wanted to hug him, which he didn’t recognised. Probably as a sign for this mother-son-tragedy both, the bear and Orion where put to sleep as pictures in the sky.
To come back to the time thing mentioned at the beginning. As you can see, has the night sky way more to offer than just a stunning view. Is a storybook of long forgotten times. But in a scientific way it’s also the future. Out there is way more to discover and an uncountable amount of questions that open up. But about this more an other time…
Considering this and the fact that every journey has an end somewhere in the future we can say that the little moments in the preset are a precious gift that once they’ve happened still be there, but as a memory.
The biggest problem with this – let’s say trinity of time – is that we often appreciate a moment not when it’s there but when it’s gone. Or the other way round, we are waiting for a moment for so long or are just heading to that moment that we don’t appreciate the way it takes us to get there. So either we are moaning after something way back in the past or we just want to get something far ahead. But the time in between, the now is the thing that deserves appreciation because once there, there is no turning back. The past will always be part of the present and the future, we can’t change that. The thing we can do is appreciate the moment and try to learn out of the past to get the future we want. I think Mother Teresa summarised it quite well as she said “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”.
And as we all have just limited time on this earth, I think it’s on us to make the best of it. So we should life as we are traveling. And I don’t mean this “let’s live in the moment -YOLO – thing, where people try to excuse doing only fun stuff without looking at the important things. I mean it the way where you manage your time as good as possible that there is enough to spend on the things that matter to you. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who wrote the famous book The little prince expresses what i mean well fitting: “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”.