Summer is quickly slipping away. Pretty soon we’ll be turning the page on the calendar to the one with the picture of colorful leaves dropping from trees. We may look forward to the changing seasons and the new colors, but deep down, when somebody bothers to ask, the opinion we have about change is more often, “um, yeah, but no, no thank you,” especially when it comes to the march of time.
Perhaps except for the 6 year old looking forward to kindergarten or the 16 year old looking forward to a drivers license, people are not thrilled with idea of getting older. “Time goes by fast enough. Let’s not rush things!” is the typical response to how almost anybody feels about an upcoming milestone event.
On June 29, 2022, the world set a speed record. The actual planet, not the people on it or some supersonic transport fired off it into space, but the actual planet Earth set a speed record when it completed a full rotation on its axis 1.59 milliseconds ahead of schedule.* Timekeeping experts at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) say fluctuations in the Earth’s rate of spin are nothing of concern. The 24-hour day is a handy measuring device for getting us from one full revolution to the next, but is more fiction than fact. That is why we have leap year and why more often there are periodic leap seconds added to the end of certain years. Those man-made adjustments keep man in sync with the planet.
We’ve written of change before. At the time we wrote, “change seldom happens quickly, but it happens. And it happens inexorably. Things you barely notice from day to day add up so over time the change becomes monumental. Take yourself for example. You likely are not noticeably different than you were yesterday, maybe not from last week, perhaps even barely noticeably different from last year. But compared to five years ago, ten years, twenty years…the change is remarkable.”
For some things we don’t have to wait 20 years to see the remarkable change. This fall, barely a month away, we will see green leaves turn brilliant oranges and reds, lush grass carpets dull and stiffen, flocks of birds heading for warmer climates, and even our pet dogs and cats will begin to grow heavier fur coats. Nature recognizes the need for change and goes ahead and changes. People are different. Almost all people prefer the familiarity of now and would choose a future without change, to be no different than the now even at the expense of an upcoming milestone event.
We know that won’t happen. Change is inevitable and will be here before we know it. We may not like it but have responded to change before and we will again. When you woke up today you may not have noticed any change from yesterday, but someday you will wake up and see a yellow leaf where there used to be green and know the time for change isn’t just coming, it’s here. And it seemed just 1.59 milliseconds ago was a whole different time.
* Mouseman, Andrew, “Earth is spinning too fast – the consequences for timekeeping may be unprecedented,” https://apple.news/AWYlaADBKSYmI6RIzc9HB_A, 6 Aug 2022.