Days of rain resulted in floods and the suspension of classes and work, and I had to consequently find ways to amuse and console myself, trapped as I was in inertia and ennui.
I watched film after film, listened to music, wrote a letter or two, read half a book, slept, ate, and then slept some more.
In such frantic manner did I waste time, spending with utter profligacy something that I have so little left of. Killing time is such a pain.
Herbert Spencer said of Time: “It is that which man is always trying to kill but which ends up killing him.” Ovid was even more curt, calling Time “the devourer of all things.”
Since we must all die in the end, as all living things eventually do, time may therefore be considered as our ultimate enemy. We cannot escape the ravages of time, which chews through everything we possess, nibbles at all that we are. We can never kill time, but time always finds the time to kill us.
But is there a way to “arrest” time, to “capture” it, as it were, like sand in the hand, like running water, like ill-bred eel, even for one brief shining moment?
We can hold it by actually and physically possessing it. In a very literal sense, we can own a timepiece, a watch or a clock, making each of them a slave at our beck and call, to tell us by the semaphore of their hands the time of day if and when we demand it.
Fossils such as bones, shells or leaf impressions are the preserved remnants or imprints of once-living organisms of a long-ago geologic era. When we hold a piece of fossil that is millions of years old, we can say that we are holding time in the palm of our hand, grasping eternity in an hour.
And then, quite without provocation, we remember the past. By remembering, we catch and hold time in abeyance, as if it were something moving very slowly in an emulsion, in some sort of suspended animation. Remembrance is a time warp that allows the passage of time to be suspended, that permits the river of time to be frozen in midstream or dammed.
Each time the bottle is shattered by memory, the genie of our past days and deeds escapes into the rarefied air of the moment, to answer our summons, to present itself for review and inspection.
But the best way to outwit time is to leave a legacy, a lasting fossil and imprint of what kind of animal we were while we lived. A good name and reputation outlasts the march of time—the splendor of the grass that never dies, the glory of the flower that never fades.
Time kills us, yet we will continue to live in the hearts of those who, loving us, remember us. Time is only patient, but love is kind. Time kills us, but it is by the power of love that we are resurrected, time and time again, rising, always rising, to the level of godhood and immortality.
Love is truly stronger than death. Love kills time.
Antonio Calipjo Go ([email protected]), 67, is academic supervisor of Marian School of Quezon City. This piece is dedicated to the memory of his father.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.