I once read that the Aymara, an indigenous population from the Andes, have a different take on time: they are the only culture in the world to gesture in front of themselves and not back over their shoulders when talking about the past. This is because the Aymara don’t face the flow of time, they turn their backs on it; in their eyes the past is what they can see and the future is what they can’t see. It is a profound logic. Almost universally across all cultures time is compared to a river; it’s just that in the 21st century we find ourselves constantly fighting against the impetus of the waters, like salmon struggling upstream to reproduce. And do you know what happens to most species of salmon when they reach their spawning ground? They die. So long, and thanks for all the fish. Quite sensibly, the Aymara skip the salmon run and allow the future to carry them out to sea; they just go with the flow.
Matt Irwin, English trainee teacher, Wyvern College