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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

Time as a River

abstract long exposure of city lights with intentional camera movement

We think of time as something to be measured in precise ticks of the clock, calibrated with certainty like the markings on a yardstick. But I've come to embrace a more fluid perception of time – one that sees it as a flowing body of water.

When we're kids, time meanders like a soft babbling brook. A lazy Saturday morning feels like a whole blissful week of leisure; a summer out of school feels like a carefree lifetime stretching on to infinity. The brook moves slowly, gently, in no hurry to get anywhere.

As we get older, the gentle brook becomes a river with swift, thundering rapids.

Our days are packed with deadlines and to-do lists, and our heads are filled with thoughts of what we need to do tomorrow and the next day. In this state, time roars by. A week rushes past in the wink of an eye. At the end of a year, we look back and wonder "Where did the time go?"

It's clear that time is every bit as relative as Einstein said it was. How we view it and how we experience the flow is completely up to us.

Photographer's Footnote: I took this photograph of city lights in Charlotte using a long exposure and intentional camera movement to convey the fluid nature of time.


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