Time: The Doppler Effect

I’m still debriefing from the West Virginia trip that began almost two weeks ago. It was an anticipated event I watched on the calendar as it came closer and closer.

It was briefly time under my own feet in the now two weeks back. Now, it recedes farther and farther into “the past” and I’m still trying to be present by this revisiting in those moments not fully appreciated when they were present moments–too close to see clearly like an object that needs to be held at arm’s length to bring it into focus.

Time does indeed seem to flow, to move towards and in the beat of a heart to speed away into the distance like a river torrent or a train whose speed and sound changes pitch as it approaches and departs.

And so what I’m experiencing today I think of as the temporal Doppler Effect. It makes for a nice metaphor–a poetic way of thinking about our fixed place (or so it seems) in Self through which time flows, coming and going.

Hmmm. This seems so obvious I wondered if this was an instance of so-called “original thought” and of course, the Internet is almost always quick to disabuse such hubris and show that our best ideas (even if originally conceived) are just the regurgitated cud of fellow sapients.

See for instance:

Events in the Future Seem Closer Than Those in the Past

As you may be aware, I could go on. But it’s Friday. Few pass by. Fewer stop. And this truncated and abstruse blog post merges with the great cosmic stream of verbiage and babble that is the background noise of our times, its pitch falling as it moves away.

IMAGE CAPTION: Green and Amber ~  a small Blackwater River tributary flows cold and tea-colored below Blackwater State Park lodge. Click HERE to see larger image at Flickr.


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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I always appreciate the depth, beauty and edifying aspect of your writing. I also wanted you to know that I had stopped by this Friday. (I stop by every day, even if I usually don’t comment.)

    I hope you continue to blog for many years to come. Your writing adds so much to my life and knowledge and, I’m sure, that of others, as well.

  2. Mr First, I was one of your students way back at WCC! I have just recently found your blog and have been reading it for a month. Please keep it coming, BEAUTIFUL pictures.

  3. The temporal Doppler effect article was fascinating. You should feel pretty proud of yourself perceivng (and naming?) that phenomenon. It sure makes intuitive sense to me, too.