The Speed of Time

Nathan Edwards - Ecuador


March 12, 2013

Hey everybody,

Life has been going well down here. I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to go travel and see some pretty amazing places and spend some time with good friends. The diversity of Ecuador is amazing. After a 5 hour bus ride from the mostly gray skied/ life packed cloud forest, we found ourselves in the daunting mountains of the Andes. My friends and I spent the night at one of the fellows’ house (John Villanueva) and the hospitality of him and his family was unmatched. It is such a boost of confidence in humanity when a 60 year old woman accepts a group of foreign strangers to stay in the house and provides meals for everyone with an earnest smile on the face the whole time. The only thing she asked in return was that we had an awesome trip in the Amazon and to come for a BBQ before we all left. Sometimes it seems the ones who have the least are the ones willing to give the most.

I have been reading Las Vidas Privadas de Albert Einstein for the past couple of months. My team leader gave me this book to practice Spanish and that was/is my main intention in reading it. I didn’t know much about Einstein or his theories before venturing into this book. One of the key components of the General Theory of Relativity is that mass has an effect on time. It is a difficult concept to conceptualize and I have thought about this theory more than I originally thought I would. Einstein was most likely conceptualizing massive stars in far away galaxies and how time can be manipulated by immense masses, but I have thought about this theory in a more personal sense.

There have been moments here when time has seemed to come to abrupt halt. Movement forward is a distant reality. Lying alone on my suspect bed in a schoolroom on a Friday night in a community of 150 people in early December was an instant that seemed restrained by the walls of time. No matter how hard I pushed or wanted to break down that barrier, and let that instant drift into the past, the wall remained unbroken. This was a dim moment. Time tries to maintain its course but sometimes is bogged down by an insurmountable black hole some galaxies away.

I don’t know how many seconds I lied face down in my birthday cake. In literal terms, it was not that long of a while. In my mind, it was an enduring point in time. A moment that went beyond the walls of time and spanned into something more special. It wasn’t an experience that could be measured in seconds, minutes, etc. It reached that place that makes one happy to be alive. The wave of time stopped to greet the stars.

These two moments are extreme examples for me when time has been my ecstasy and my kryptonite. Usually my time flows in a more steady wavelength but is subject to the variables in life. The experiences with more mass tend to alter time. This could be in the sense of a ceaseless moment, or it could be the memories forged by the experience. That schoolroom on that given night was tough, but it was an impactful night in my life. It was an experience that had matter. It would be hypocritical to say that when we feel time moving quickly these moments are valueless, because some of the better moments in my life have flown by before I could realize how happy they made me. But when I feel the time start to slowdown whether it be good or bad, I know that it could be a moment where the universe wants me to savor every intricate detail, because it could be something that changes my perception of the universe we live in. Einstein based his theory on the wide universe in which we live, but should it not be applied to our lives as we our all part of the grand scheme?

As I re-read this entry, I realize that some of my thoughts appear sporadic and sometimes contradictory. These are some ideas that have been occupying my mind the past week and it’s important to record and share what is on the mind no matter how little sense it makes! Thanks for taking the time to read, best of wishes to all of you. Cuidense!!

Nathan Edwards

Nathan Edwards