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Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday's Musings — the neat formula: Spring Forward, Fall Back

In my blog entry this past Saturday morning, I mentioned to my readers the fact that for folks living in areas "ruled by DLS" (Day Light Savings Time), their clocks, watches, appliances and digital devices would need to be set back one hour before they went to sleep that night. However, in the interim between publishing my Saturday morning's blog post and retiring for bed that night, I attended an evening Mass, where the presider joked about the error that had appeared in the parish's printed bulletin. This mistake can be seen in the "image" posted above today's blog entry, where, as you can see, parishioners were advised, "Don't forget to turn your clocks AHEAD 1 Hour". This was the error that caused the presider to remind us that you can't believe everything you hear in church.

The presider then proceeded to say a few things about DLS which I would like to share with you. Here is part of what he said:

"We have come to that point in the autumn calendar where we are all reminded and advised, upon retiring tonight, to reset our clocks by one hour backwards according to the neat formula — spring ahead, FALL behind. Tomorrow, upon rising, we will have gained, so we say, the bonus of an extra hour. This, of course, is a figment of our imagination. Can we really by the manipulation of a  watch, prolong our earthly tenure, if only by a nanosecond? Leaves are fading, branches get bare, evening shadows lengthen — signs of impermanence and mortality, telling telling that time does not stop . . . ",

Our parish is in New York City, and he was not only giving this homily on the evening of the night we would need to move our clocks back, it was also the evening before the New York City Marathon, an annual "occasion" known to most folks, and one that I blogged about last November in posts which you may refer to by clicking here and here. In any event, the presider used the opportunity to point out that besides "signs of impermanence and mortality, telling that time does not stop . . . " 

"Every moment is precious and unique, for no moment is ever really repeated. The serious runner in [tomorrow's] New York City's Mammoth Marathon knows well the implications of a split second . . . "

The parallel that the presider drew regarding "runners" and "the implications of a split second" is one I am sure many non-runners can relate to also. For how many of us city dwellers rush out the door, move hurriedly to the bus stop just to see the bus pull away? Or how many of us have to look to for our cordless phone or cell phone once we hear it ring and find it just as the ringing has stopped? And there are those who press the "send" or "submit" button on their computer before we realize we have not included everything that is needed despite the "warning": Are you sure you want to send/submit this? 

The aforementioned examples are for the most part trivial; and there are  countless examples when split seconds are far more crucial and in fact are life saving, life threatening, or life ending. Timing, for the most part, in all that we try to do is often not in our control, and so it is best to live for the moment and enjoy what we can because as "experts" have long stated: "Time flies whether you are having fun or not."  Or, as my "friend", Lucifer stated in yesterday's blog post, "Time is fun when you are having flies." 
In any event, despite the fact that we all know that we should live in the moment, doing so, for most people, is very difficult and we constantly learn that "Time flies whether you are having fun or not"! It was only a little over a year ago that thirty-three copper-gold miners were miraculously rescued —  from what as been dubbed the Chilean Mining Accident — after being trapped for sixty-nine days.

Edison Peña, was one of those miners, and although the rescue had taken place only four and a half weeks prior to last year's New York City Marathon, he wanted to participate in it as you may recall from many news stories and from my blog post of last year where I stated, "once the organizers of the New York City Marathon learned that while trapped in the mine, Peña cut his steel-tipped electrician boots down to ankle size so that he could run the 1,000-yard corridor, they initially invited him to participate in the race by riding in a lead vehicle, or to hold the tape at the finish-line. Not one of the organizers had imagined he would respond to their invitation with a request that he run the Marathon. Peña's desire to participate thrilled the New York Road Runners."

Peña was Runner #7127, and after stopping two hours into the race to receive medical attention for his knee, completed the Marathon in five hours, forty minutes and fifty-one seconds. Peña became a quasi-celebrity and appeared on Late Show With David Letterman, where he sang Elvis Presley songs as he had done for a majority of the days when he was trapped in the mine. He was even treated to a trip to Graceland, the estate of Elvis Presley, as supporters knew how much Peña loved the popular American singer. A year has passed since Peña crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon as supporters and crowds cheered singing The Wonder of You  from Presley's repertoire, and yesterday he returned to New York city to participate again. However, he returned a changed man, for in the past year since last year's Marathon, Peña, according to an article in the November 3rd 2011 Sports section New York Times, "did not come to grips with the traumatic nature of his time underground until after last year's Marathon. He turned to drinking and drugs and checked into a psychiatric clinic which he described as the low point of his life . . . [and] he has not kept in touch with any of the other miners."

It seems Peña has lived out "the neat formula" of springing forward and falling back, and kudos to him for trying again this year! Most of us in one way or another share in the experience of springing forward only to fall back, and it takes courage to try, try again.

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