Five hours ago I had a ‘blast from the past’ – a really valuable experience. It was finding a story I had written when I was ten, not so juvenile as to be laughable, but with that overriding air of innocence that unfortunately cannot be preserved for day-to-day adult living.
Human kind has always been intrigued – obsessed even – by passing time. For an example of this, look to the various ‘memento mori’ that were so prevalent in all art forms just a couple of hundred years ago. Hourglasses were etched into tombstones, reminders from the dead to the living that their time was short, indeed much shorter than the average modern person can expect.
But passing time does not only bring death. It brings new life. It refreshes weary minds and rejuvenates old ideas and ideals. Passing time brings healing to the injured and rest to the traveller.
Last year I distinctly remember laying on a sunbed in our garden and watching the summer clouds saunter lazily across the blue sky. I remember now how it made me think of other summers; playing in the daisy field at the height of an Orcadian summer, games of ‘cops and robbers’ and ‘tiggy scarecrow’ in the noisy surround of a school playground. The last day of each summer term: a childish delicacy of excitement at the summer holidays, laced with a garnish of anticipation at what the next year would bring. And then the holidays, always remembered as being in brilliant sunshine even if at the time it seemed to rain forever. I really feel privileged to be able to look back on such wonderful memories.
So being aware of passing time can’t be such a bad thing, although it may occasionally lead to nostalgic tears. Passing time has made me remember fondly what has been given to me, enjoy what I have at this very moment, and rejoice in the anticipation of what lies ahead.
Look no further for wisdom regarding this than to the songs of John Denver:
‘What a friend we have in Time,
Gives us children, makes us wine,
Tells us what to take or leave behind.’
And, who knows, perhaps when we learn what to take or leave then Time will reward us with children and wine, hearth and home, true peace and undying love. For me, at least, I must be grateful that my writing style has improved, although my spelling and handwriting have not fared so well in the passing of time!