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Nothing is infinite. Well, probably nothing. We can't be certain, but we know that many things are finite: our lives, certainly. Even the Earth, the sun, other stars and planets have expiration dates, although it's difficult to fathom such a notion, as their lifespans are so very much greater than our own. What seems to define all of this is time. True, there is also space, but space is pretty much a given. Things -- though they come and go -- exist within a spacial plane. But what defines them (and us) is time.

Indeed, it would seem that time is the ultimate prison, the ultimate foe and, therefore, the ultimate frustration. We could, theoretically, travel to other worlds. And perhaps someday we as a species will do so. But for us, here and now, the likelihood is slim-to-none. Anyone who is reading this bit of writing when it is published will not survive long enough to have such an opportunity. Time will have taken its toll on us.

We can travel, now, to the deep south of the United States and see plantations. The structures still exist, as does, obviously, the land. The space isn't an issue, but the time. Because now African-Americans are free. Their ancestors, some hundreds of years ago, were not. They were trapped by time. They existed in the same space and land that the now-docile plantations exist in today, but their timing was... unfortunate.

And, on a more intimate level, what of us? What of people? We exist -- as living, sentient beings -- within a particular window of time, and then we are gone. Take, for example, film critic Roger Ebert. He died earlier this week, but his film festival, already scheduled for April 17-21 at the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign, will carry on. The places are still there, but the time ebbed-away, and Mr. Ebert did not continue with it. He will not be at the Virginia Theatre later this month.

The aforementioned scenarios are why I find time to be so frustrating. It is elusive. I can't quite wrap my head around it. It exists, silently, gliding alongside us, our planet, our galaxy, our universe, moving things along and seemingly impenetrable to our advances. We cannot go backwards, we cannot go (unnaturally) forwards. Yet. Perhaps, someday.

Until then, we exist, somewhat powerless, within time's world. It's not a bad adventure, really. But it isn't a truly unencumbered one. We do indeed lack freedom with this adversary because, as we know, time catches up with us all.


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