Once upon a Time

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Time is seating on his easy chair, his famous hand-made sandglass on one side, Eternity on the other. Time has always been and always will be, and Eternity has been by his side as far as he remembers. His lovely, sweet, everlasting Eternity. And they were happy.

Eternity is kind and serene. She has a slim figure, sparkling eyes and soft features. No wonder endless attempts have been made to find out her secret. The two of them are observers of the universe, only interfering in any matter when strictly necessary, and always in a slow, gradual, almost imperceptible manner. Managing Time affairs is not an easy task, but Eternity lends him an assisting hand, whenever needed, granting him wisdom and patience. Maybe that’s the reason why he doesn’t look nearly as old and tired as he ought to be.

Time enjoys having Eternity as his partner, and stories to keep him entertained when he has a moment to spare. This is what he likes to do the most in the company of his daughters, Morning, Afternoon and Night: simply hear, and once and a while tell, stories.

Thanks to Gravity, the one in charge of getting all things in motion around the universe, Time can never have his three daughters together. Gravity dictates when and where they have to be: when Morning is turning off the stars and waking up the clocks in one portion of the world, Afternoon and Evening are performing their tasks in others. Lucky enough they all inherited Time’s vigor and punctuality, because Gravity would not have it any other way. That woman acts with a strong, driving force over everything and everyone, everywhere. She is that powerful! A characteristic that Time finds rather charming and attractive, undeniably attractive actually.

Time loves the various tales that the girls often share. They are wanderers and, together with their friends, live the most exquisite adventures. Many of their stories feature the Wind, one of the strongest children of the beautiful Nature. Mother Nature, as she prefers to be called, is another powerful woman in the existence of Time. And he is a huge admirer of hers, such relentless and creative female.

But, yes, we were talking about the Wind (Forgive Time, he sometimes looses track of what he is saying due to so many things happen simultaneously. It was quieter in his youth…). Wind, what a playful boy! He often helps the sweet, fragile Morning to ignite the fading flames of the Sun, making sure the old chap rises bright and mighty each time. The girls also tell their father how their lively friend plays all sorts of pranks: getting under the floating dresses of ladies (Time finds that one episode with the astonishing blond particularly memorable); howling to frighten the Night, who is afraid of the darkness; or undressing intensely hued trees. The last, it must be said, was Autumn’s idea, which Wind liked so much that he repeats it whenever Autumn is around just to make him smile.

Time reaches out for a scrapbook resting on the coffee table before him. In it, a number of news clippings recount the most important events, discoveries and stories in the universe. From all of them, he considers the ones originated from the blue planet as the most compelling. Humans are, in his eyes, challenging and admirable creatures. They can be quite difficult to deal with and have given him a lot to handle since their genesis. Think, for instance, of their choice of resolving ideological, cultural, political or economical differences through inhuman war games. Such sad, grim, shocking stories. There are days meant to remember those dark pages, but today is not one of them, though.

Now he prefers to think about the great things: the paintings of Van Gogh, the poetry of Shakespeare, Jane Austen’s novels, the music of Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone… and much more such as landing on the moon, exploring Mars and, by all means, the Internet and the World Wide Web. He is an enthusiast of the latter, he must admit. In his infinite library resides a NeXT computer identical to one at CERN, which was used as the first Web server. Brilliant stuff!

By the way he talks, it becomes clear that, despite Time’s passion for the arts, he is a scientist at heart. He vividly recalls the studies that revealed the convoluted plan of Mother Nature to realize the evolvement of species. She was so thrilled and surprised. Less so was Gravity, when the apple fell at that crucial moment, making her presence so clear, all of a sudden; like every extremely powerful being, Gravity values her privacy. Personally, Time liked when they figured out his close friendship with his best mate, Space.

Time loves to watch the brightest mind at work as they attempt to unravel, interpret and explain how it all came to be and how it all works. Look how close they are getting to understand the origin of (literally) everything: from the behavior of photons to faster information processing, from birds migration to teleportation. Amazing! His humble admiration is translated into countless science scraps devoted to Q progress.

The Guardian of Past, Present and Future applauds humans. He finds them to be incredibly bright, resilient and loving. We, on our turn, respect Time, leaving to him the task of being wise and delivering us answers. “Time will tell.” Little we know that he is more of a listener. Time rather listens and occasionally also tells. He only wishes that we were as good listeners as we are tellers.