Do you ever think about the passing of time? We all mutter those phrases about time passing – ask ourselves ‘where did those days, those years go?’ Time passes in strange ways I think. Especially now, when a lot of us have been enforced to spend our time in different ways than we are used to. It’s as though days morph into one another. Time is moving slowly, yet paradoxically, flying by. There is that strange phenomenon too, about clock watching making time stand still -perhaps when you are waiting patiently for an event and the hands on the clock don’t seem to move, and the times you are waiting for the kettle to boil and a minute seems like an hour. Or when you are waiting to hear an answer to an important question. And think about the times you lay awake at night wrestling with a problem that has taken on momentous proportions in the darkness; sleep will not come and it seems like the morning will never arrive.
I was looking for some essays and blogs about time and how we view it. Interestingly enough, there are many blogs about time management out there. Many suggestions for making your life better, strategies for maximising productivity and taking control. Suggestions for finding ways of being more efficient. Okay, it may be helpful to organise our time and keep a watch on how we spend the hours in our day, but that isn’t really what I was thinking about here. When we enter the Golden Gates, do you think there will be someone standing by with a report card, ready to tick the box marked ‘efficiency’? Or the one marked ‘excellent strategist’? These are probably useful attributes but not what really what make us tick (okay, dreadful pun).
Right now, is the clock that reliable anyway? Perhaps it wears two faces; ‘objective time’ – the time of timetables and calendars, and ‘lived’ time – time where we live and love and feel and act. It seems to me that the familiarity of the days is re-setting our clocks somehow. We don’t have so much use for objective time at the moment, even though we normally seemed to be ruled by it, but we are noticing our lived time more than normal. We notice the difference more; the change in the way our days are passing, and perhaps feel a strangeness and a discomfort. But actually, the calendar now is not too relevant, except in certain circumstances where we still need to keep to essential appointments. Of course, we all need to refer to our diary’s at times, but perhaps we will come to realise that timetables and charts and routines are external inventions thrust upon us, some of which we realise we can live without. We might even say that the pandemic has given us an insight into the fundamental nature of time.
Yesterday I must have got up yesterday And the day before that, Had the morning cup of tea And the usual chat. I must have looked at the sunrise Checked the skies for rain, Avoided listening to the news; The same old sad refrain. I must have cleaned And cooked and swept And dusted the corners Where the umbrellas were kept. And I must have rumbled Through my mind A thousand thoughts That were left behind From the day before And the day before that; A veritable swirl Of this and that. And I must have gone to bed once more As the day turned into night, And realised another day had gone As I turned off the light. And as I lay upon my side A lonely tear I tried to hide, Along with the growing fear That I can’t turn back the tide. But, then I must have noticed The moon was full and round, And Its silver face was smiling, Sending moonbeams to the ground. He didn’t question if he should shine Or worry about the passing time, Or ships that pass us in the night Or whether What he did was right. And so I must have settled down to sleep As the Universe took charge, And I dreamed of all the days I’d keep Filled to the brim with stars. L.M.H