By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
Albert Einstein once said that time is an illusion. As the man whose mind fathomed the theory of relativity, I’m pretty certain he knew what he was talking about. But Einstein’s theory has more to do with the tangible and quantifiable — acceleration and mass and gravity — than it does the intangibility that is the perception of a consciousness.
You see, time is more than just an illusion capable of being illustrated by a mathematical equation — for a human mind, time is an illusion created by memory and emotion. An illusion made up of vignettes assembled as electrochemical signals deep within the grey matter of our brains.
As we go about our lives, our days and nights, our brains filter our experiences for us. The brain performs some sort of magic to solidify the important moments we experience into lasting memories, while sifting through and past the less important ones, allowing them to fade away with a speed equal to their inconsequentiality.
Time remembered gets triaged, so to speak. Preserved in the slowly hardening amber of thought.
It’s strange, though, because time remembered can differ so vastly from time in the moment. Standing in line at the grocery store waiting for your turn at the cashier may not be a moment that earns a spot on the shelf of your long term memory, but while you’re standing there, after a long day? Time in the moment seems to stretch forever. That brief, 10-minute wait becomes an interminable eternity.
And for those moments when images are etched indelibly in your mind? Sometimes such a momentous event lasts hours, even days — a series of smaller events built one upon the other to form what you perceive as the recollection of a single thing — yet, you may feel later as if it all happened so quickly. Like a firework — a blindingly bright split-second flash that leaves a glowing afterimage on your retinas.
By now, you might be wondering why I’m waxing philosophic about the perception of time. It’s because these are our last issues of the Port Isabel – South Padre Press and the South Padre Parade for 2018. And as I tend to do when another year draws to a close, I become introspective about the events of the previous 12 months.
This year, like the previous three I’ve served here in the Laguna Madre, has been filled with its fair share of moments both spectacular and mundane. Happy, and sad, and exhilarating, and frightening, and nerve wracking, and boring, and surprising and funny.
I’ve covered a lot of news in 2018. Some of it has involved the continuation of topics I’ve been covering since I started here in 2015. And some of the topics have been entirely new ones. Some of this latter group of news stories may be standalones, belonging to 2018 alone, while others will continue to play out into 2019 and beyond.
And for me, it’s simply interesting to see how my mind unconsciously chooses to filter and collate that growing body of experiences — all those interviews and meetings and phone calls. Those moments beneath skies both sunny and cloudy. Those moments sitting at my desk, or out in the field. Those moments surrounded by people both friendly and not. Those moments surrounded by the comfortable silence of solitude.
Regardless of the permanence or transience of the memories 2018 has brought, it’s been one fascinating year and I’m thankful to have been able to share it with you, our readers. I’m looking forward to seeing where 2019 takes us. Happy New Year!
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