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Issue 28 • April 2018
Time
edited by Holly Lyn Walrath

Introduction to Issue 28 • Time

Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. (But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail.)
                    —Virgil, Georgica (29 BCE)

To begin in the end, Time is one of the oldest tropes in writing. From stories and novels that use non-linear storytelling to the most classic of poetry, humans have been writing about time since it began.

Isaac Newton thought of time as a river that flows no matter if nothing changes. Humans learned early on that looking to the stars, the sun, the moon, was a way to track the passage of time. In order for us to understand the concept, we need to observe some change outside of ourselves, to watch a clock tick or perhaps an atom vibrate. But British physicist Julian Barbour has posited that we are actually living in a series of wholly complete moments. A time for everything.

Studies in linguistics have shown that different cultures use different spatial metaphors for time. While we in the US might refer to “a long weekend,” tribal cultures often refer to time as a part of the natural surroundings in which they live. How we perceive time is based on how we perceive the world. We all know that time seems to pass differently as we age. As I get older, I’m constantly amazed by how hard it is to compress one moment into the length of time it used to take up when I was a child.

In our minds, time passes differently than outside ourselves. I think the lesson time can give us is empathy. We are all supposedly given the same time on this earth. We are fellow travellers through time and space. What we can learn from how others live that life is just as vital as the study of time itself.

To that point, I hope that you enjoy reading the pieces in the Eye to the Telescope issue on Time. My main goal was to try to present the most varied exploration possible—from pieces that are short and mighty to those which use structure in exciting ways. These pieces vibrate together in a powerful way. I hope you enjoy them.

—Holly Lyn Walrath