Thursday, March 15, 2012

Theory of General Relativity

Last night, Rob and I caught a random History channel show about Albert Einstein and his great achievement, the Theory of General Relativity.  (It is amazing what this cable TV acquisition in our lives is doing to us).  I found it to be a rather informative show.  Part documentary, and part dramatization, in that reality TV kind of way.  They effectively dragged out for two hours the 15 year agonizing process that it took for Einstein to accurately calculate, and resoundingly prove his theory. And though I was tired and very appreciative of some simple entertainment, rather than sitting at a computer working, I wondered if I couldn’t have spent my evening a little more productively.
This always happens when I watch television.  I enjoy the break from life, but when it’s over, I wonder what I have been doing for two hours.
Lately I feel particularly strapped for time.  There is so much to do.  I have a job as a SAHM mom and housewife, which is full time as you may know.  But I have now for months been taking on the job of being a writer.  That I can set my own schedule to as much or as little time as I want, does make it all more easy.  But I want to write more.  And the result is that am left squeezing in a load of laundry here or there, stopping for an hour in between school drop offs and grocery shopping to get an hour of writing in at a cafĂ©, and wondering how dirty the bathroom has to get before someone other than me attempts to clean it.
But life is not just work and work.  There are all sorts of extras lately.  We are creating this new sunroom porch, and it is now up to me to paint the whole thing.  Not to mention the weather is astoundingly nice, and when Cedar gets home from school I want to take him bike riding, rather than sitting him in front of Mythbusters so I can get dinner prepared.  And we have yet to even begin thinking about planting any starts.  So, yes, it feels like life is jam packed full of things to accomplish, work to be done, pure desire and hope, and harsh reality.  There really is only time for so much.
Back in 1915, Einstein and his cronies were struggling to prove his new theory.  They needed to photograph a full solar eclipse, to measure the stars around it.  Don’t ask me what it all means or how these people figured out any of this scientific stuff.  If you don’t know what it is, you had better Google it.  Suffice it to say that they had brilliant minds and went to great lengths to research math and physics and astronomy.  In fact, one fellow dropped his whole life, and traveled via boat for 10 weeks to go to the next place on Earth that a solar eclipse was happening.  TEN weeks!  One way.  No doubt he had his math problems along with him, but he sure wasn’t painting his sunroom, or playing with his kids during that time!
I am going to Las Vegas in a few weeks to visit my brother.  I am taking it as a vacation, but I can’t help think of all the things I won’t be getting done while I am away.  Thank heavens I don’t have to travel for ten weeks to get there and back.  Who's got the time?
Einstein’s is an interesting story.  It took the man years to get his theory right and proven.  I have to wonder if Einstein was frantic, if he worried it would never get done, or if he stressed about balancing his passion for his work, and time playing with his kids.  (He doesn’t come across as the frantic type, but plays the part of wild eyed, mad scientist to a T.)  He may have been a bit stressed about it, but somehow he kept plugging away at his work.  The Theory of General Relativity is a bit more complicated than us non-physicists can fathom.  It explained how time and space can bend and warp our observation of mass and gravity and light.  And in the end, this new idea changed the way humans had thought about the universe for the past 200 years.  It took him 15 years, but Einstein had bent time.
The gorgeous weather has lately had me sitting outside, listening to the birds, and watching the brown shrubbery slowly send out early green shoots.  I wonder if the birds ever feel frantic, or like there is just not enough time to get their work done.  Somehow I can’t imagine it.  They spend all day singing their sweet songs, not bothering with TV, and they hardly seem stressed out about time management.
I suppose I ought to take a lesson from Einstein, who proved that time can be bent, if you have enough energy and space to work on it.  I could use a little time bending right now, even just a miniscule little bit more space that stretches out from my life.  Somehow I doubt that I can bend time however, in my current life’s work.  So maybe I’ll just take a lesson from the birds, skip the television, and try to remember to sing sometimes.

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