Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Deep Time

Deep time is the concept of geologic time first recognized in the 11th century by the Persian geologist and polymath, Avicenna (Ibn Sina, 973–1037, and the Chinese naturalist and polymath Shen Kuo (1031–1095). In Europe, the modern scientific concept was developed in the 1700s by Scottish geologist James Hutton (1726–1797).

An understanding of
geologic history and the concomitant history of life requires a comprehension of time which initially may be more than disconcerting. As mathematician John Playfair, one of Hutton's friends and colleagues in the Scottish Enlightenment, later remarked upon seeing the strata of the angular unconformity at Siccar Point with Hutton and James Hall in June 1788, "the mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time."

With the addition of a couple new Friends on Facebook, I now have a continuous string of acquaintances that runs from when I was about 5 and had recently moved to Connecticut, to the present. I have “curated” people from elementary school up there, to Middle and High School here in Jersey, my brief stay in College, Art School, bar life in Philly and most of my employment history.

Granted there are still some gaps, mostly in my memory or accounting of my timeline, but it still quite a stretch. Plus, I now finally have people that can corroborate some of my “tall tales”

The furthest down the line, I found after the oddest turn. I friended someone from Art School on Facebook and was looking at her friends list [in search of an ex-girlfriend, of course], when I saw a name I never thought I’d find. His first name is the same as mine and he had a very unusual last name, making for a unique combination. Yet, this person lived in California and my Art School friend was from Jenkintown then and now lived out by Allentown.

Two questions came to mind:
1) Is this the same person I knew from my kidhood?
2) How could they POSSIBLY know each other?

The first answer came pretty easily. I asked this person “Did you used to live in Connecticut? Did your Dad work at such-and-such? Did your parents play Bridge by any chance?”

Sure enough!!! Yes, yes and yes. Not only that but his mom and MY mom have the same first name as we do [a pair of Randy’s + a pair of Nancy’s]

Then we pieced Part Two together.

Apparently, his family moved to West Chester about the same time we moved here. As luck would have it, my friend Terri lived down the street from him. Fate took its course; she and I met in Art School.

Then there was ... well. I would say “Missing Link” as she’s not really a link to anything. Although, I did begin doing triathlons in the off chance I’d run into her some time.

Karen Smyers (born September 1, 1961 in Corry, Pennsylvania) is a triathlete from the United States, who won the inaugural women's triathlon at the 1995 Pan American Games in Mar del Plata (1995). She grew up in
Wethersfield, Connecticut, in an athletic family of seven children and one cousin that lived with them. She joined her older siblings on the town swim team at age eight.

Known for being an Ironman World Champion, Karen is also known for overcoming her setbacks.
- A bike accident leaving her with a broken collarbone.
- A collision with an 18-wheeler truck leaving her with broken ribs and multiple lung contusions.
- An accident with a storm window that severed her hamstring
- She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and survived
- Suffering a miscarriage and still being able to compete in the world championships three weeks later

I sent her a friend request on a whim, thinking that no “Legend” would possibly have the time or the interest in a BOPer like me. I was moderately shocked when she accepted. I was now in the company of
Scott Tinley, Chris McCormack, Greg Welch [another vertically-challenged retired triathlete LOL], Simon Lessing, Carol Montgomery ...

"I asked myself, 'Self? How did I get here?'

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