Time, through the looking glass

Time, through the looking glass

Before the advent of clocks and calendars, our mirror image was already a clever way to signify the passage of time.

Our body is a stand-alone time-teller. True, it cannot show us the numbers on which the long hand and short hand fall. It cannot tell us how much time has passed, but it certainly can show us that enough time has gone.

Consider our hair, which grows with the ever-moving tides of time. We look at it in the mirror, with some dissatisfaction, that it has grown too long, too unruly. We see the need for change, whether a half-inch trim or a show-stopping undercut. A haircut signifies new beginnings in the popular media, and that isn’t so far off from reality.

Even the color of our hair vividly illustrates the relentless march of the days. As we age, the vibrant tendrils of our mane transform into silver threads. 

Our hair’s keratin relative, the fingernails, are just as good time-tellers. Repulsed by the sight and feel of sundry particles trapped in their edges, we are compelled to trim them, as if they are urging us, “It’s time.” We recognize the need for a trim when our tender touch accidentally leaves a paper-thin wound on a loved one’s cheek.

When the nails grow long enough to their liking, enthusiasts are compelled to zoom into a polishing session. They transform the ridge-ridden surfaces into a canvas akin to capiz, revving up the engine of creative minds.

Our body is our own timekeeper, attuned to the rhythms of life. But the present calls for the undeniable need for precision. 

There is merit in the numbers—to have the short hand and the long hand, to know every tick and tock. We live in perilous times, and each day may be the last. Thus, numbers are evidence, bringers of justice. Without numbers, would we know the time of a disappearance, the time of death, or the fairness of working hours?

We cannot abruptly pry off the measured concept of time from our lives, but there is equal merit in the hope born from our body’s ability to reveal an eternal truth: Something new will bloom with time. 

Arguably, our body conveys this truth better than a machine—insisting that it’s possible to move forward, that we will move forward. We will always persevere with and despite our circumstances.

So, if your body compels you to move, especially amid the silence, listen to it and listen well. Perhaps it’s telling you that a moment of change is needed. A moment of change will come, and the force needed to bring the new dawn will need you.

Gian de Guzman, 23, is a fundraising and marketing officer for a nonprofit. She describes herself as “a slice-of-life genre enthusiast, charmed by the profound treasures in everyday life.”

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