A peaty smell

Part I of the two part move from Oxford to Cardiff. Part II tomorrow. For today it involves driving a hired Vauxhall Zafira loaded with luggage to drop off at an address in Canton. A half-hour turnaround and you’re back on the road. Flowing well-spaced traffic. An almost nonstop roll from door to door.

Along the motorway between Swindon and the Severn Bridge, this: terrain as time and vice versa. A multiplicity of crinkles mapped out ahead of you in time as surely as in space. The next second, minute, year…the rest of a lifetime. The trail already laid down as it were. But only “as it were”, because predestination (determinism?) is just an analogy extrapolated from the retrospective sense that the past did in the event unfold in the only way that it could.

The thing is, if you grasp the principle of relativity and accept the counterintuitive notion that both time and space are functions of the speed of electromagnetic radiation, then you know that neither exists in a measurable form without the other. There is no line on the paper unless it is granted at least the tiniest moment in time to be present, because when T = 0 the line has no presence. And when Space = 0, the less than infinitesimal point across which an electromagnetic wave cannot travel, then time does not apply.

So, for any measurable moment in time it is notionally possible to sketch the surrounding spatial geography, even though the geography changes during the course of that moment. And by the same token, for any measurable moment in space it is at least conceivable (if not achievable for a normally functioning mammal brain) to map the surrounding temporal geography, even into the cascading entropy of the future.

Reading this it looks like you were on drugs rather than having a humdrum drive on the M4. Maybe it’ll make sense in the morning and you’ll eventually find a clearer way to express it. Along with your theory about how the universe isn’t actually “expanding” other than by analogy…


In the front yard,

inhale that peaty smell: 

turf, pine, damp leaves

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