Tempus fugit…time flies, and with a little more detail from Wikipedia, we learn that this Latin expression comes from line 284 of book 3 of Virgil's Georgics, where it appears as fugit inreparabile tempus "it escapes, irretrievable time". The phrase is used in both its Latin and English forms as a proverb that "time's a-wasting". But is that necessarily the case?
"Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire." Jorge Luis Borges
I’ve been conscious over the past year of time moving in strange and unusual patterns rather than its normal “fluid” and predictable manner. The pandemic and lockdown have had the effect of speeding time up, but also of slowing it down and at times almost freezing it, in a not particularly pleasant way.
Even the seasons seem out of kilter, with the last two weeks in Scotland being unseasonably bright, dry and warm. With cold nights – some of them frosty – some garden plants have raced ahead with flowers and foliage, whilst others were suspended in a state of surprise, not quite sure how to react to the unusual weather pattern.
Cooking dinner at the weekend, I used up the remainder of a bag of frozen parsnips and realised that these had been opened for what had been 2020’s pared down Christmas dinner, and found it hard to assimilate all that has happened since then.
Given the highly emotionally charged atmosphere and sadness of being unable to celebrate the festive period with family and friends, somehow that memory had been held in abeyance. Time is said to be a great healer, so perhaps the lifting of restrictions in tandem with the arrival of spring will allow our memory banks to accept and make sense of the happenings of recent months.
"Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind." Nathaniel Hawthorne
I’ve been fortunate to spend time again with my little grandson and it is magical seeing him grow and develop and throw himself into each new day with such enthusiasm. His excitement is infectious – albeit sometimes exhausting – but he certainly fills every moment of his day.
"Time is a game played beautifully by children." Heraclitus
In his own way he is beginning to understand time in terms of routines and joins the dots around knowing it is time for his daily walk or his bedtime cuddle. Mealtimes are of particular interest and importance to him – home-made macaroni and rice pudding being current particular favourites and both demolished in no time!
No blog on the subject of time would be complete without a mention of age, and I would certainly agree time seems to pass more quickly now than it did when I was younger.
With age also comes a heightened sense of awareness of how precious time is, and of making a conscious effort to not waste it. Paradoxically this awareness coincides with having more “free” time than when I was working full-time.
But I think the definition of “wasting” time is subjective, and I am now quite content to occasionally choose to spend a little time just “being” – and sitting quietly in the garden.
"Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments." Rose Kennedy
Rather than "time-wasting" I consider reflecting and doing nothing to be cherishing time and valuing it for what it is, and what it represents.
“What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare. No time to stand beneath the boughs and stare as long as sheep or cows. No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass. No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars, like skies at night. No time to turn at Beauty's glance, and watch her feet, how they can dance. No time to wait till her mouth can enrich that smile her eyes began. A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare." Leisure by W H Davies
Take care, lead well