Posted in Miscellany

*Weird Thoughts

Yesterday, while ice skating, I was thinking about time. The life of a human being, geologically speaking, is famously short. Seventy or eighty or ninety years–what’s that compared to, say, the 165 million years that dinosaurs walked upon the earth?

From the perspective of a middle-aged person, the life of a sun with its span of 10 billion years is infinite. And yet it’s not. Our sun is middle-aged, too. Isn’t that weird? And so time has passed for the sun, about half its life already. And the rest will continue to pass, the sun at some point dying, the earth and all the sister planets left cold and lifeless.

The universe will end, too. It also has a birth and a death. So, from my middle-aged human perspective, I wonder what God (as author) will do next. I think of this, you see, because I wonder what I’ll write next.

In terms of size, human beings are about half-way from the smallest particles to the largest things in the universe. There is an old Hasidic saying: a person should walk around with a message in each pocket: one note says, “You are dust and ashes”; the other note says, “You are the centre the universe.”

A dying star, nebula ngc 6302, NASA


Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

12 thoughts on “*Weird Thoughts

  1. Time interests me a lot, Lilian. It’s a fascinating component of existence. There’s something heartbreaking in that image of a dying star… perhaps your next work lies somewhere in its dwindling.

  2. Very interesting. I imagine that there would be a lot of ideas generated by the tension between those two statements (you are dust and ashes and you are centre of the universe). This links up with your post on Ageing and I loved the comment there about the cycle of life and death.

    1. Pete that’s an insightful connection. Yes time and the cycle of life and death and rebirth are related. There is also the theory of the multiverse which sees universes bubbling up like gas bubbles in a soda, which sets me to imagining God in an old fashioned drugstore wearing one of those caps. Of course the source of all good and love is not human but if it was human, a soda jerk is as holy as anyone.

    1. Me too, Litlove. This reminds me of a joke. The rabbi of a synagogue is praying and wailing, “I am nothing compared to you, Oh God. Nothing! Nothing!” Beside him the cantor of the synagogue is praying and wailing, “I am nothing! Nothing at all, less than dust, less than ash.” And then there is the janitor, praying and wailing, “I am nothing, Gottenu, nothing.” The cantor and the janitor look at each other, snort, and say, “Look who thinks he’s nothing!”

  3. I love this. I wrote about time in a story once (a girl researching time) and learned all these things I didn’t know. I love that you were having these thoughts while ice skating, of all things. Was it an indoor rink?

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