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Taking time to ponder nuances of Father Time, Mother Earth

Emma Edwards
By Emma Edwards, Thursday, January 9, 2020

“Time is the coin of your life. It’s the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” -- Carl Sandburg.

The new year is upon us. An expression that inspired or challenged my thinking processes was “Father Time.”

Webster’s Dictionary defines the personification of time as an old man, usually in a white robe, having a white beard, and carrying a scythe.

I can’t help but ponder the gender connection. Why do we have “Mother Nature” and “Mother Earth,” but “time” is masculine?

In some cartoons we see a depiction of Father Time handing over time’s reins to Baby New Year. Other times the Grim Reaper is depicted.

That brings up another subject worth looking at, especially for seniors. In many pictures of Father Time, we see him holding an hourglass.

I doubt even our oldest seniors had to depend on an hourglass (well maybe for soft-boiled eggs). Some younger seniors may not even know what an hourglass is.

When thinking about it, we have progressed greatly in areas such as time. Many of us learned to love the cuckoo clock, which most scholars believe was brought to the United States about 1850 from the Black Forest area of Southwestern Germany, the region where the cuckoo clock was popularized. No one knows its inventor!

Digital clocks became popular in the United States in the 1970s, according to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. The main forerunner to digital clocks was manufactured by the Hamilton Watch Company of Switzerland.

Another interesting time-related study is about the different ways of telling time. There’s the traditional clock, which includes “hands,” numbers, and second “hands.”

Other studies could be made of celsius or fahrenheit, centimeters or inches, linear measure vs. dry measure vs. liquid measure.

There’s so much to learn and so little time!

That reminds me of a quote by Christian author/speaker Tony Campolo. “Most of us are tiptoeing through life so we can reach death safely. We should be praying, ‘If I should wake before I die’ … Life can get away from you. Don’t be satisfied with just pumping blood.”

A 98-year-old friend told me recently that if she didn’t keep moving, she soon would no longer be able to do so.

“What, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.” -- Saint Augustine.


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