[Conto] – About Time

About Time

(Matheus Martins)

“Call no man happy until he is dead”
— Herodotus

The rooster cried at 11p.m. It’s still unclear if it, by any chance, could see the dawn way ahead, was a bit delayed or even if it was considering somewhere else’s dawn as its referential — dawn is, after all, a matter of location as much as it is a matter of time, though we often let that slip. What is certain — among so many other things, but in this subject somewhat more relevant — is that it felt like doing it: any reason beyond that one may keep our minds busy, but are as empty a reflection as why its female counterpart decided to cross the road (after all, reasons whatsoever they might be, it changes nothing about the fact that it is no longer at this side of the road or that your attempt to sleep was disturbed). 

In the end, reasoning why the rooster did cry so long after dusk and so far from dawn is nothing but a bad habit of ours put into action, a habit so humane as it could, as far as our own nature is perceived: time may pass, but it matters not how much it does objectively, for we care for its meaning and not for its dimension. Ages may go unnoticed if not a single moment lies amidst them.

From the multifaceted nature of memories — capable of being reconciliatory, spearheaded, comforting or even reassuring — to the conditional (and too often fantasizing) taste of hopes and dreams, pasts and futures are built by opposition with the present and having as their source the desire to live other than to survive. The very core of regret is precisely taking too much notion of the seconds going by.

A wise man with a pipe once said through another — this other one beyond the quality of ‘man’, as it turned out— that “all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us”. The fleetingness that blesses the Mortal ones puts things into a perspective without which existence would be entirely dull. What is a second of happiness when the referential of eternity is at hand? Thus ‘eternal life’ is antithetical.

Many have already said these same things — have they not done so since carpe diem became a default motto? —, this pub-like philosophy has been written over and over again, through poetry and prose, but it is nonetheless a friendly reminder that comes in handy whenever approached. Feeling is the seasoning that makes the dullness of time in natura pleasant to the mind and its intensity does the alchemical job of making preciosity out of the mundane.

It is comfortable to get lost in idealizations of time well spent while the clock ticks — and the intensity we can create in the realms of our conscience is remarkable —, common to postpone the freedom of the self to the day after the obligations are done, seemingly natural to mourn things that came to an end without having its depths truly explored and desirable to try to make sense out of a timing that appears to have none. However, it is in doing so that the flame burns out with its duration being seen, but not experienced. Some calls and chances come as unexpected as a sudden rooster cry at 11p.m. Don’t wonder why — every now and then, time feels like happening —, don’t wonder if — for it is too powerful a word to use in vain —, just step out and let the randomness of fate lead your way. It is, after all, about time.


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