I love it when a theme comes together, don’t you? Several things happened today that convinced me to write about the concept of time. Our 16 year-old exchange student came into the kitchen at her usual time this morning and asked why it was so light out. I explained that we set our clocks back on Saturday night so that we could have more sunlight in the morning. The idea of saving time or changing time for our benefit seemed hard to describe to someone with limited English skills. There are practical reasons for “saving the daylight,” but we really don’t gain any time. An hour is still 60 minutes and a day is still 24 hours.
Years ago I wrote about the significance, or insignificance, of knowing what time it was while waiting in a hospice room for a loved one to pass away. I couldn’t immediately find the piece (it was taking too much time to look for it!), but today’s Word of the Day that showed up in my inbox was “horology,” a noun meaning “the art or science of making timepieces or of measuring time.” Who knew? We all measure time in some way, so does that make us all horologists? According to the Dictionary.com site, “Horology shares roots with the word hour in the Greek term hora, which means ‘time, season, hour.'”
During this season of concentrated writing time, I’m reading “Chapter after Chapter,” by Heather Sellers. Guess which chapter I read today? Chapter 5 — “Slow is Fearless,” where she writes, “There is only one ‘kind’ of time. The moment you are in right now. Staying in the now is essentially a kind of fearless focus. It takes gallons of courage to slow down.” She also proclaims that slow is good, even great! “Time-soaked writing is good writing.” I need to hear that.
When I was a young girl, I was often called a slow-poke. True, I was frequently the last one in the car when our family went somewhere; it took a long time to do my chores (but in my defense, they were done well!); and I was a lolly-gagger, which I just now looked up to find that it means “to fool around.” In other words, I took my time.
Somewhere along the journey, I began to believe that the idea of “taking time” was negative. In this “git ‘er done” world, faster always seems preferable. But today Heather Sellers set me straight with these words,”You need to take your time. Get it? Take your time? Your writing session, your writing year, your writing life, must be padded, anchored, and illuminated with time to wander, get off track, launch a different writing project, lose yourself in reading, write for no purpose, just to explore. You need leisure writing, reading, walking. You need to play. And you need solitude that is not writing time, too.” Ahhh.
Days are shorter, leaves are almost off the trees and nature is entering a season of rest, of quiet time, a slowing down time. An hour may still be an hour, but I plan to stretch and savor it as much as possible.