Monday, May 2, 2011

Time Markers

Native American Winter
    An avid skier probably marks time in terms of  the events of a winter season.  So one might have a memory of a particular winter ski season and measure other events before and after by that marker.   I seem to recall that native Americans would measure their age by stating they had seen a certain number of summers.   After I did a little research on time perception by different cultures I discover that the Native Americans likely measure long time intervals in terms of number of winters.  Perhaps because surviving winter was the challenging part of their life experience.   Every culture and every community and family has their unique way of comprehending the passage of time through the markers or events that are seminal in their experience of life.   It is interesting to observe that the western concept is that time is linear.   Other cultures see time as a wheel cycling according to some predetermined repetition of events such as the seasons.  In geezerhood one has a bank of memories of the past so there are a multitude of events that serve as time markers.
    Until I became an avid skier, I tended to mark time by the summers of my life.   Each summer seemed to have a unique set of events that were memorable and would permit me to put the past in perspective.   In recent years the markers have tended to be both in the summer and winter.   Last summer/fall we had weddings of two daughters so these were great time markers.   Moving farther back in time I can recall surgeries, births, marriages, funerals, house purchases, etc.   Thus life events seem to be the time markers one retains.   It certainly is interesting that it seems easier to remember years ago events than events that happened weeks ago.   I guess a time marker sticks only if it is of major significance.
   Spring is upon us now and another summer approaches.  It seems only yesterday that we rang in 2011 and here we almost one third of the way through this year.   It is good to anticipate another summer and plan for another winter.  Who know what major events will become markers of this year.   I look forward to pleasant markers of time for the unfolding year.   Perhaps some travel, a Bar Mitzvah for a grandson, special visits with friends and a host of birthday celebrations for children and grandchildren.    Good health and good living for all.

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