Aion is the Stoic term for the indefinite and noncorporeal sum of a past that no longer exists and a future that does not yet exist, separated by an instant without duration.
Hence time is our perception of the present moment continuing.
The apparent simplicity of this reasoning belies a depth that will provoke any decent mind for a lifetime. The apparent irony is that a lifetime is aion, perceived and inhabited, fully and temporarily. The tragedy is how hard this is to learn, and the comfort for that journey includes things like good red wine, snow in sunlight, a true friend's laughter. Make your own list. It will only take an aion.
Time is a word symbol for a human perception, one that necessarily fascinates us. It lies at the core of human consciousness, and our self concept is founded on it. You might start with "Why am I here" and end comfortably, if with resignation, at "You have but a moment, inhabit it fully." The best people inhabit time in ways that enhance their experience and that of others—but here we shade into the moral argument. Aion is an old idea, pondered by many for thousands of years, elusive and rarely perfected.
Winter is a good time to work on it. The light gets low before I'm ready for it to go. Late January sun surges yellow and just as quickly softens white-to-grey behind a thick shock of clouds, cycle repeating down to dusk. Brisk wind has swept the street, but not the grass, of light snow. Yesterday, not a great day, does not exist, nor does tomorrow, which I hope will be terrific.
I've drawn charts all afternoon and now I have a garden designed and a list of seeds written on a yellow tablet. That's a good aionic afternoon. I based my charts on past year's plantings, alternating beds and creating new arrangements that will bring both high yield and a pleasing aesthetic. I'm creating a bounty of food we enjoy at tables all year, things that bring good cheer to the autumn we imagine and fill next winter's bowls with bright flavors. Today's nexus in the aion facilitates the imagined midsummer, the future that does not exist. I spend my afternoon in this moment without duration and by living it fully I affect the next directly. Or plan to. See Robbie Burns on plans.
And the sun flashes bright again, falling on the charts. On an important turning of the year that too often goes overlooked, I'm aware of light stretching the day at both ends. This measuring of time is one a gardener marks differently than someone who never grows a thing. So we select our moments, as far as we are able, train our perception to the things that draw us naturally, or inevitably.
Spring draws me, and this crossing from winter to spring—yes, it's here and no I'm not early—has to do with light, not heat, though they may be the same thing in different forms. Planetary idiosyncrasies fairly guarantee we will yet get our asses kicked by cold and storms—and in fact, Colorado is terribly droughted and needs moisture badly. You see, it's impossible not to look to the future we imagine. The optimist hopes, the pessimist worries, and the aionic thinker makes his moment count most.