Sunday, 17 November 2013

The Passage of Time

"Let your life lightly dance on the edges of time, like dew on the tip of a leaf."  Rabindranath Tagore 

Time is the dimension in which we order events - the past, present and future, the duration of those events and the intervals in between. It stops everything from happening at once.

It's of the essence to writers since woe betide the timeline which accidentally becomes confused, or out of reasonable sequence, because the novel or story is then unconvincing, something which the reader is unlikely to finish. There are the publishers' and competition entry deadlines too, which we cross at our peril.

One of my earliest memories is of the grandfather clock in the hall which measured the pace of our family life. Mum would consult it for mealtimes, when to walk to school, almost time for Dad to come home from work and at bedtime, the most important occasions in my young life, but I was happy. The hours were structured and as a child I felt secure. The best times though always seemed to be when spontaneity took over, and we had the excitement of the unplanned. How many children don't enjoy the occasional snow day? A holiday, albeit with it's own time frame, but which takes us outside of the routine.

I'm guessing that time has been a  preoccupation since the beginning, as we must always have been subject to nature's clock, the seasons, the light and warmth they may or may not bring. Archaeologists have discovered devices from ancient civilisations which measured the hours, and the oldest book, the Bible, considers how we might properly use them in Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8...
A time to give birth and a time to die." It continues with various examples such as speaking; being silent; weeping; laughing; killing; healing and so on, most of the occasions we'll come across in life.

We often blame being "in the wrong place at the wrong time" when we face change but perhaps that's where destiny steps in, moving us forward or taking us in another direction we hadn't thought to go? Possibly the spirit world, the supernatural, is simply a slip in time as we know it, causing our universe to collide with another which is parallel? There have been many stories written about this. 

The concept of time runs through our lives, literature, poems and one of my favourite quotations from William Shakespeare:

"Time is very slow for those who wait;
very fast for those who are scared;
very long for those who lament;
very short for those who celebrate;
but for those who love, time is eternal".