Unnerving – to write 400 words straight off. I was taught to think before you speak – think before you write.
Finishing the day-job has altered my concept of time. I spent my working life working in blocks of minutes – 20, 30, 45, 60, always working with the knowledge that this task would be coming to an end in so many minutes and the next task would start.
I am finding that there are people who have never worked that way. Their days are one long continuation – days meld into days until the job is done. This is a novel experience for me.
Last Wednesday I sailed to a river a few miles east of where I keep my boat. By early evening, I had moored, cleaned up, cooked a meal and am sitting reading. The companionway is open and I can see the trees on the steeply sloping banks and a line of converted fishermen’s cottages.
It is quiet, peaceful. The water is glassy smooth. The tide has been coming in, occasional pieces of weed floating upstream, a gentle ripple on the bows of the neighboring yachts.
Even though the boat is absolutely still and there is no noise, I notice a change. There must have been a tension because I feel it ease, the boat seems to slacken. It’s not the boat that’s slackening, it’s the effect of the tide on it. The view through the companionway alters very slightly. A few more trees come into a view, I lose sight of others. Gradually, my view alters, from trees to cottages, another boat in the foreground, to different cottages, more trees, boats. A long pause later we are realigned, facing upstream against the outgoing tide.
This is time – real time. Not one expressed in numbers. The Earth has turned, it’s relationship with the moon and the sun altered in space. The billions of tons of water that has flowed in one direction, now turns and flows away again. This is the real rhythm of life, the music that unites us and all species, this surpasses all the endless explanations we use to justify our presence in this world. This happens despite us. In the past, I would not have had time for it – my own preoccupations would have masked it, but this evening, just for a few moments, I had the privilege of feeling that rhythm, of hearing that music. I was glad.