On mysticism, poetry, time, and time’s demands.
Time has occupied so much of my thoughts lately. At 71, my entire being is fully aware, charged really, with the reality of being in the 'sacred final chapter' of life. It's humbling because the physical body reminds me daily, in aches and pains and, of course, the damn bathroom mirror, that time has shortened. Yet, there's so much life yet offers me! It's energizing and I'm engaged, enthused and determined to finish with gratitude, love and adventure.
Thinking of the phrase “just in time.” As in: I stopped just in time, I looked up just in time, I picked up the phone just in time. “Just in time” to: Avoid an accident; see a hummingbird at the feeder; to be there when a friend called. Not always a race with time, but a meshing of two toothed gears, suddenly engaging in the present moment.
Study of light
A scientist from Denmark
to the speed
of a bicycle.
rushing away from us
in all directions.
Look at the stars
they have broken free
We are learning to fly
at the speed of a bicycle –
our headlights hollow out
through the night.
I love the way time collapses and expands as I look back over the growing number of minutes, hours and decades and try, just for a moment, to be only here. Only now.
I struggle to make sense of time. "Time blindness" is a term that gets used to describe the struggle that some neurodivergent people have with time. I don't have any sense of how much time has passed while I'm doing an activity. That might be nice if it happened occasionally when doing something meaningful... but it can be quite impairing when it happens with things that could be considered time wasting, or when trying to function in a world run to a schedule. I find it very hard to estimate how long something will take. I'm constantly late, even for things that are very important to me (meeting a friend I haven't seen for months, or an appointment with an expensive specialist) because I don't realise how long it will take me to get ready, or to travel. And then I feel terrible about making the same mistake yet again! I heard someone talk about experiencing time as "now" and "not now" and I relate to that. It's hard for me to figure out exactly when things happened in the past, or in what order.
I find myself thinking about something that is obvious, that our understanding of time changes so very much as we get older. Young folks seek to fill time, and then there are the stages when everything seems to be in preparation for the next step, when time is filled with anticipation.
And then I hit my 60's. And a surgery and a diagnosis. Ordinary time looks more extraordinary indeed. The next phase may well not be so good, so I'm relishing the Now, the Here. This is the gift of getting older, the desire to genuinely live in the moment.
Just did a 150 mile biking trail through the Allegheny forests of Maryland and Pennsylvania. I did it with my son (51). I am 80 yet pedaled with him, 20 yards behind yet together. Each day was in yet outside of time. The pedaling reduced our distances....on trail and between us.
My son says time flies! You’re only 10, I reply. Time should be maple syrup. His summers should stretch like bubblegum on the bottom of a shoe. Not like time lapse photography
Often, I'm at war with time. Want to savor the slow sweet undercurrents, but find myself surface-high, in a float, sopping wet and looking at my phone.
Time is both the chisel that reveals
and the sediment that conceals
the pulsating artefact, a sedimentary heart.
The pull of time is like the moon's leash on the sea -- never slack.
Morning comes too soon, or not soon enough.
Though we soar like fluid thunder,
Or crawl on dusty ground,
Dawn's inarticulate song breaks body and soul
Upon her shore.
Sometimes, I wish humanity would vanish from the face of the earth
so that nature could have all the time in the world to herself again.
Just a few poems that came to mind with this pondering on mysticism, poetry, time and time's demands. Thank you for reading!
I’d like to write a nice contemplation on time this morning, but I don’t really have time. Getting ready to have the clan out to our cabin by a lake today where we’ll all be spending time together, telling stories, making memories, soothing crying babies, looking at the old photo albums, laughing, loving each other. Time will expand and I will hold it as long as possible.
I am gently reminded of this post to something we in our family call ‘Irish time’ -meaning not being bound by watches and deadlines when meeting, talking, engaging and laughing with friends and neighbors. Time stops for this as people come first and our ‘eternal moment’ with them.
‘I’m trying to simply notice what time is doing in me throughout the day: demanding, consoling, bullying, cajoling, nurturing, deceiving, delivering. By noticing it, I’m trying to discover tiny experiences where I can take a small step away from time, even for a breath, so that I can see it before stepping back into it.’
What a practice for daily living
It is Pentecost Sunday, but this morning I found myself contemplating Ordinary time-- the liturgical season of green--the ordinary holy, and the long time we count, until Advent, simply waiting for something extraordinary, while overlooking much of what holy in our ordinary days. So the timing of this newsletter seems potent with meaning, connecting my own contemplative practices to something much larger, broader: how the writing of poetry is also the living of it and the ways we wait for something extraordinary, when ordinary presence seems too quiet, too small. It is in these very moments when everything begins to change.
For most of my life I have felt as if I live everywhere but the present.
I've been thinking about "Ode to my Homegirls" since listening to it last week. Thank you for sharing that one (and all of them), Pádraig!
I find "rushing energy" the worst. I try to avoid it by doing one thing at a time, which makes time feel less urgent. In rushed moments, I also tell myself: "You are the master of time." I can't recall where I got that, but it somehow works magic in slowing things down. It's even helped me get to places "on time" when doing so appeared impossible.
I’m old and Time greets me each early morning to remind me “ Sing your song. It won’t be long”