The Day of Mother Time and Father Nature
By Jesse Booth
The natural order of the earth includes fathers and mothers. So it has been from the foundations of the universe. But there was a time when time itself did not yet exist, and because of the resulting stillness, nature did not exist either. If one natural law is somehow broken, others will most likely be broken as well. But I’m jumping ahead of myself, for this tale begins when no natural law existed.
When a seed is planted, it does not instantly germinate and pop up from the ground, yielding fruit ripe for the picking. Such an experience needs much help from nature. Before a plant can produce anything, though, it needs time.
The world did not simply pop out of nowhere, sprouting plant and animal life. The natural side of things, while important, could not happen until time existed.
As we all are living and breathing, and while you yourself are reading this very story, it is obvious that time does indeed exist. Father Time created time.
So who is this “Father Time?” He did not invent time. Father Time follows natural laws, which hints that he existed within nature somewhere else before his greatest task began.
Not much is known about his origins and exactly what kind of being he is, nor what he looks like. But you have seen fragments of him. The hands of your clock spinning slowly are his hands. The alarm that screams at you every morning is but a whisper of a wake-up call (that you really ask for, no matter what side of the bed you wake up on).
His wife is Mother Nature, who you see on a daily basis, but usually forget about. Little is also known about her, but she is far less elusive than Father Time.
She is the sunrise in the morning and the sunset in the evening. She is the brush of air parting your hair. The slight drizzles from the sky are her tears, but they usually are followed by her rainbow smile. The calm puffy-white clouds rolling slowly across the sky are her spas of relaxation. The forests are her shrines; the deserts are her oases. The oceans and lakes make up her heart; the rivers and streams are her arteries and veins.
But she has a mean streak. Her mood swings are unpredictable most of the time. Torrents of rain flood the ground, dark luminous clouds stretch over the land, great winds howl, and cold air bites. No soul has lived on the planet without feeling some level of fear caused by Mother Nature.
Some days she gets downright out of control. Amidst her tirades of anger, earthquakes rise up, causing ripples of damage everywhere. Tidal waves swallow dry land. Tornados rip and pull, then fling miscellaneous objects miles away. Lightning and thunderstorms clash and boom in the sky, their hazardous fighting brilliantly illuminating the darkness in sudden bursts.
And she is a smoker: just take a look at her volcanoes! Father Time has been trying to get her to quit for millenniums upon millenniums, but she cannot give them up.
While Mother Nature does have her mood swings, she usually stays reasonably calm. Most importantly, she relies on Father Time in order to do her job.
Father Time is the greatest mathematician, physicist, and astrologer ever known. He keeps the Earth spinning at just the right speed to allot for twenty-four hour days, sixty minute hours, and sixty second minutes. And all of this is done at a perfect distance away from (or close to, depending on how you look at it) the sun, which provides the perfect balance for Mother Nature to keep life flourishing on the planet.
So the world has been this way for millions of years, and so it should always be. But one evening, as the world began to quiet down, they had an argument.
“Father Time,” Mother Nature began, “though I could perform no task without your aid, I must state that at the end of the day I work harder than you.”
“I beg your pardon?” he replied with an edge.
“It’s true, you know,” she continued, quite positive she knew the facts. “My job is full of great important tasks, as well as equally important small tasks. To put it simply, I have more on my plate than you do.”
“I can hardly believe that,” Father Time scoffed. “Even after all this time we’ve been together, you still have no idea what I do.”
“Don’t fool yourself,” she replied. “I’ve watched you casually spinning the world on your finger for eternity now. Sure, you throw in an extra day every four years. But it’s no secret that I’m the master of multitasking around here!”
“Master of multitasking?” he laughed. “More like the master of mood swings! You storm about day to day without any form of organization, and when the built-up frustration gets to you, you lash out at the planet!”
“Don’t lecture me about organization! I’ve got a lot more to fulfill in the twenty-four hour days you give me than you do.”
“We’ve been over this before,” replied Father Time. “Twenty-four hours is plenty of time in a day. If I made thirty-six hour days, or forty-eight hour days, you’d be even worse off, trying to cram even more of your work into extended time. Plus, every living creature on the planet loves my organization of time. It makes sense and is easy to follow. And it’s predictable!”
“Well if you think my job could so easily be handled with your organizational skills, why don’t you try what I do for a day!” Mother Nature yelled.
“Surely you jest,” he replied. “You couldn’t maintain a single hour if I let you try.”
“Oh, please,” she said in mounting frustration, “your work is child’s play compared to mine!”
Father Time smiled. “Very well. At midnight we will exchange positions for a full twenty-four hour period. We will see who has the more difficult job.”
And thus, at midnight, began the Day of Mother Time and Father Nature.
Midnight came quickly that night. The hands of time were passed to Mother Nature and the administration of nature was given to Father Time. After their exchange, each housed a smugness neither had ever felt before.
“Balance is the key, my dear,” he winked to Mother Nature. “So is organization.”
“Thanks for the tips.” Sarcasm flooded the statement. “I’m not giving you any.”
“No need, no need at all! Good luck!”
And that was the end of conversation for the day.
The beginning of chaos began.
Right away, Mother Nature lost all rhythm with her spinning, throwing the time scale completely off. Hours became minutes. The whole world slowed down. In an attempt to mend the situation, she overcompensated, speeding time up way too fast, tilting the world the wrong way in the process. The equator suddenly raised perpendicular to its normal station. Polar ice caps immediately started melting quickly, causing ocean levels to rise dangerously.
Balance, indeed, was the key.
Unfortunately, these problems made things even worse for Father Time. The sudden climate changes were wreaking havoc on the earth. Being unused to such things, he reacted in the only way he could. He caused earthquakes to snap along every possible coast in an effort to raise cliffs to protect inlands from going under water. These earthquakes likely caused just as much damage as the water levels would have. Before he could even think about the islands of the seas, they were buried.
It took several hours for Mother Nature to put the planet back on the right tilt. She could only imagine the damage she had just caused to her garden.
After adjusting the tilt properly, she tried to figure out the proper speed the planet needed to spin. Her mind was not made for such calculations. She continued to attempt the number crunching.
Meanwhile, Father Time was trying to figure out what he could do with all the excess water when a brilliant idea came to him. The deserts (which had always seemed so ugly to him) looked parched. He caused great clouds to build up, vaporizing millions of gallons of water.
Stirring up winds, the big dark clouds hustled to the driest locations of the planet. This type of orchestrated organization was his right up his alley. He let loose the built up condensation in every dry location. Downpours began, and the parched sand greedily drank.
Afternoon had already come. The morning had been nothing more than a blink.
“Now for the real cleansing,” he smiled. He forced more of the excess water through the vast system of tunnels in the earth connecting volcano to volcano. He would finally be able to extinguish those blasted puffing mountains!
Steam belched and sizzled into the air, causing more clouds to form. He did not care. The ash-spewing mountains would become simple, everyday mountains. If nothing else, it would break Mother Nature of her bad habit!
The hours moved on, and both Father Time and Mother Nature failed at their tasks miserably.
As Mother Nature focused on spinning speed, she lost track of Earth’s revolution around the sun. While the rotation of the planet slowly improved, the orbital movement increased, causing time to speed up. Hours became minutes. She screamed out loud due to the frustration of the multitasking.
Father Time was dealing with a whole slew of problems. The planet seemed to be bulging. Then it dawned on him; the purpose of the volcanoes was to release the pressure from the core of the planet! They were Earth’s ventilation system! Why hadn’t Mother Nature ever told him? He tried to figure out a solution on unplugging the clogged mountains.
His other main issue was the deserts he had flooded with rain. They had transformed into bogs, and if you thought deserts were bad, bogs are even worse!
He shook his head in surrender. He needed to be in an organized job. All of this nonsensical nature business was beyond him.
In frustration he threw lightning bolts randomly. He watched in horror as fires ignited where the bolts landed. Quickly he gathered rainclouds in an effort to extinguish the hungry flames consuming plant life.
Once the flames were doused, he blew the rainclouds to oblivion.
If he was not already upset by the events of the day, he surrendered when he saw the forests not only charred, but also flooded by the downpour he issued.
“By Murphy’s hands!” he exclaimed to nobody. He did not know anybody or anything by that name, but it came out of his mouth nonetheless. Thus we learn the origins of blaming this unreal person, Murphy, in which a law was based off of and is still used today. It is so easy to blame personal mistakes on others!
Mother Nature had also given up. The whole time business proved to be too much for her. She decided to speed up time to finish the twenty-four hour period more rapidly.
At last, the day had ended. Father Time and Mother Nature ran to each other, both completely exhausted and exasperated.
“I’ll admit it,” Mother Nature breathed. “Your job is far more difficult than mine!”
“I beg to differ,” Father Time disagreed. “I’m not completely sure, but I think I may have left some permanent damage…”
“If you did, it was probably my fault.”
“Not at all, not at all. Let’s just agree that both of us are perfect for our own jobs.”
“No disagreement will come from my lips!”
They exchanged responsibilities back to each other.
“Well, there’s our problem!” exclaimed Father Time. “The planet is upside down and spinning backwards!”
“You never told me which way was up or down or which way the spinning should go!” Mother Nature replied in defense. “And any case, look at my once-beautiful planet! It isn’t even recognizable anymore!”
“Yeah, well, let’s not point any more fingers, unless they’re aimed at Murphy.”
“Who is Murphy?” she asked, confused.
“I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure he caused all of this. You see, time follows laws and nature follows laws. If for some reason those laws are broken, then Murphy’s Law comes into play.”
“And what’s Murphy’s Law, exactly?” she asked without amusement.
“Well, if I were to define it, it would be that if anything can go wrong, it will.”
“Quite pessimistic, don’t you think?”
“Perhaps. But at least the blame falls on Murphy…”
“Blame Murphy all you want, but realize that we caused all these problems by switching responsibilities.”
“I can accept that statement,” he admitted. “In all reality, I hope you realize how much I appreciate what you do. Had we not exchanged jobs, I never would have come to this realization.”
“The same goes for you. Now please, get time back on schedule. I’ll see to the repairs of the planet.”
Thus, Father Time swiftly put the planet in its proper time frame. The perfect balance of spinning, orbiting, and tilting allowed for Mother Nature to patch up the damaged planet.
Millions of years later, the human race would exist, and never know what happened… until now. You have read it. And I’m quite sure you are pleased with Father Time and Mother Nature for working out their differences all those many years ago.