“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me;
For now hath time made me his numbering clock”
Richard II, Shakespeare

“Time is a demon”, I said at 5am. “Time, you are a bastard,” I groaned at 6. But as we all know, Time is really just our constant companion; it is our accreting consciousness.

stalactite.jpg[Pause with me for a moment – aptly – to think about “accreting”, a gorgeous word that applies perfectly here. The process of accretion is one of gradual build-up, and is often used in geology, meteorology and astrophysics. Here, it’s useful, because our awareness of time having passed is like the gradual growth of a stalactite, the erosion of a rock by a stream].

Now (gosh, can’t we escape?!)…Now: having cursed, Lear-like, this damnded Time, or Quixotically railed at its tick-tocking windmill, I wondered why on earth there has been no Imp-musing on time, yet (yet, to date, so far…). But there has been, I found, when I hit the search button on the front page: 7-year cycles, living brilliantly for now, being cow-eyed with the present that is imbued by the past…You can’t avoid talking about it.

However, there is a favourite Impish rant about time that hasn’t yet been shared here. Apologies if you have heard it before

In English, we talk (as we’ve already seen this morning) about “so far”, “looking forward”, “catching up” – as if Time were a conveyor belt, parading Life from left to right in front of us – and we’re not on it, we’re separate, observing only. It’s a Sale of the Century culture, a “look what you could have, if you can only remember it all” approach to life. How can we be on it, if we talk about “catching up”, even with ourselves? We watch from the sidelines. Not taking part, distanced from our own lives, looking at what went before and what’s next.

But of course, life doesn’t start tomorrow: you’re in it (remember that Bill Hicks quote from an earlier post? It’s just a ride – so get on! – or rather, realise that you’re on). People seem to think it hasn’t begun yet – as if you will press START after exams/holiday/birthday/bonus/lost weight [delete as appropriate]…..argh!

daliwatch.jpgIn some other languages (and so in their cultures), time is where you are. Present tense (“are”) . You are now. And you always are. In other languages and cultures, it moves through you (or should I say, you move through it, this constant companion of ours – as integral to mortality as blood and oxygen?), not past you. Sign language is the same – you are the centre. Tomorrow is a little way in front of you; next week, further; a long way ahead gets a big pointing finger and a blowing out of air to indicate a long way away: in front of you. Same applies to the past; a mirror image of the future, with you in the middle.

Now, if time is where you are (and you can tell that I wholly approve of this), there can be no lateness, no blaming yourself. Don’t get me wrong, be polite to people, keep your commitments to them, but in terms of commitments to yourself – expectations in particular – then let it go. Here’s an example – you need to get umpteen things done this weekend, or you feel that by the age of 40 you ought to have achieved X, Y and Z. If you are concentrating on those things, what about what you’re doing now? the stuff that is actually happening, rather than the stuff that is not? Sounds like a waste of life to me.

Walter Pater, the don who taught Oscar Wilde at Oxford, lost his job and his reputation for advocating living in the Now. Here’s the offending passage:

Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end. A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to to be seen in them by the finest senses? How shall we pass most swiftly from point to point, and be present always at the focus where the greatest number of vital forces unite in their purest energy. To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life. – The Renaissance, 1873


“To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.” I couldn’t agree more. Very definitely something worth striving for.

dew.jpgIn that spirit, don’t catch yourself saying that Easter is early this year. Easter is in exactly the right place: the first Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox (Wikipedia will tell you that this is the “moment in time (not a whole day) when the centre of the Sun can be observed to be directly above the Earth’s equator”.) And this spring equinox has always brought us a celebration of death and resurrection – as Mr Hicks has also wisely observed, where is the bunny rabbit in the story of Christ? Hmm – look to Eostre, the mother goddess.

May all your crops be healthy; go try out that hard, gemlike flame…