So, September has drawn to a close and with it, the last glimpse of hazy summer days of green, full of the flutter of butterflies and the promise of warmth, long before the trees shed their leaves in time for the frosts of dark winter, I find myself pondering the meaning of time.
I find myself staring at the calendar, October…really? Where did the year go?
The grass will only need another cut, maybe two before it’s growth stops for the season. Mushrooms and toadstools sprout like Autumn flowers from every nook and cranny, pushing their heads through the thick carpets of acorn and horse-chestnuts that seem to litter our garden. I’ve managed to pick a few highly exotic looking pink toadstools which I can’t identify in any of my nature books, with billowing tops like frilly edged bolero skirts!
A few fleeting Speckled Wood and Small White butterflies still linger in the margins, their brief lives coming to a close soon, but delighting in the odd sunny day we still have and the harvest of Autumn fruits to feed upon. Only a few blooms still remain, the odd rose, some Michaelmas daisies, but mostly the garden looks barren now compared to the riotous colour that has dazzled us through spring and summer. Now the golden hues of Autumn are the palette of the day, beautiful in their own right, but a reminder that winter is coming. Time is passing.
I’m not just thinking of the literal meaning of passing time – minutes, hours, years of our lives ticking away as surely as those grains of sand in an hour glass, grey hairs appearing, wrinkles creeping or deepening, a paling of the skin, a yellowing of the eyes, spots on hands, or gravity working it’s inevitable magic. But the abstract form of time as well. Is time our friend or our enemy? A steady hand who guides and follows us through the ups and downs of our life? Enriches us with the experiences we share, that shape who we are? Or a nasty bully snidely reminding us how short our brief lives actually are, no more than a fleeting spec in the cosmic soup of the universe and how many precious years we have wasted…and how few we have left in which to achieve our dreams/goals? Time – friend or foe? I’m not sure where I fall on this one.
Certainly, like so many of us, I’ve always felt myself doggedly pursuing time, much like a hamster stuck on a spinning wheel, trying to cram far too much into every 24 hours and cursing myself when I couldn’t achieve the impossible. Most of our lives are spent in this endless juggling game – juggling jobs, families, life, and the stresses and workloads inherent with them, then trying to squeeze anything else in the few hours left, such as writing, creating or …er…breathing!
My reason for this ‘timely preoccupation’ is simple. Not only was last year the first time I unexpectedly found myself with nothing but time on my hands, and it was not been a welcome companion (thankfully I am VERY busy now and manically juggling things again), but this year is proving to be a pendulum of highs and lows.
From working a very full-time and responsible job, which certainly clocked in excess of 50 hours a week, not counting work on weekends and evenings, after 16 years of juggling my job and constantly chasing time, my body suddenly said, “NO!”. Yes, there were a lot of factors involved in it, and yes, I should have received support and didn’t, especially when I asked for it. Stress and overwork can have devastating results if left unchecked, a year later and I am still struggling to regain my health fully. The last two years have undoubtedly been the strangest and most traumatic years of my life, but as I was looking back over this lovely summer I remembered an event I witnessed nearly two months ago that kind of put things in perspective for me, as well as bringing as smile to my face.
I was fortunate to see one of nature’s true spectacles, through my own somewhat scratched and blurry glasses. I speak of course, of the annual event of the Perseid meteor shower which hurls its cascade of dust and small rocky particles across our atmosphere every summer (July 23rd – August 20th 2014), with the peak usually falling around August 11-13th. The Perseids are named after the Greek deity, Perseus, whose constellation they appear to come from.
I’d been having serious insomnia problems again, and ended up going downstairs. It was August the 12th and I remembered the Perseids were happening, so with my white wolves and a warm fleece, I snuggled in a chair and gazed up at the clear heavens. Living out in the sticks has its definite advantages, no light pollution. Not only do we have the most amazing sunsets here, uninterrupted across the fields, but the skies here are the clearest I’ve seen for miles around. Seeing as my wobbly legs and dizzy head prevent me from standing and gazing up without toppling over, the chair was a great idea. Wow! Apart from the few faint streaks I saw whizzing through the sky, I was amazed by three blazing fireballs, really bright, and only forty minutes or so apart. Truly spectacular!!!
It just reminded me how small my problems are, how vast and beautiful the universe is, how we never truly know what is out there or what life will throw our way and how precious time is…every single second of it. As precious as air, as rare as love, and totally priceless. Every second counts. It doesn’t matter if you think you’ve messed up the last few years, or want to re-run the last fifty years, it’s never too late to make the most of the time you have, every day, every moment of it.
Life is beautiful, don’t let worries or the daily grind make you forget it.
For more meteor showers coming your way, here are some dates for the next of nature’s spectacles! 😀 xxxx
Thanks to Meteor Watch for this: http://www.meteorwatch.org/
Given the major changes you experienced this year, it will take a while to embrace the new space, and for the body to adjust to the new rhythm.
I could do with a bit of looking up myself for inspiration 🙂 Thanks for sharing the Meteor Watch Chart. I made a note in my diary for 20th/21th Oct, New Moon should help visibility, provided the sky is clear.
Definitely, always good to stop and look up and take time to reflect. I’ve been so manically busy myself of late that I know I’ve been neglecting loads of things, not least this blog and my friends, so any opportunity to stop and just breathe is good. Lol, yes, I shall be out on those meteor nights too! 😀 xxxx
I’m with you on this. I try to enjoy each day. Also, I prefer to be sorted so that if I popped my clogs the people who matter would know they were loved and everyone would know where they stood. But sometimes things happen that make it harsh: events you can’t control, duties you can’t side step that make it hard to still see life, and time, as a gift. You seem to have done well at hanging onto that and I can only congratulate you.
All the best for autumn and fot next year. Onwards and upwards, I hope the healing process continues. I have found that the trick with recovering from anything is not to look at how far you have to go but at how far you’ve come.
Good luck and God bless.
Thank you Mary, you’re absolutely right! I get down when I have one of my ‘episodes’ and my head goes all funny, but dizziness and sickness aside, I know I’m come galactic miles from where I was last year. Lol, yeap, being reflective is a luxury and one that is not always possible when you’re just working your arse off to stay afloat and juggle all those balls! I think it’s a lot harder when you have kiddies to look after, so many things to consider, that you’ll always end up being pushed to back and somehow the year speeds by without those things you wanted to do being done. It happens to us all, worse still I think for us glacially slow writers, especially when all our friends are racing through their millionth book and we’re still stuck in single figures! Keep smiling honey and just remember to breathe and give yourself a few moments if you can, to just look up! 😀 xxxx
🙂 Amen to that. Glacial Writers are the best though! Phark. After all, as some lovely chap wrote on my blog once, quality can’t be rushed.
LOL!!!!! Yes, I’d love to think that, “quality can’t be rushed”, yes, I may use that as my personal motto!!! 😀 xxx
It’s getting cold. I’m guessing your inner ear stuff may get worse as the pressure and temperature changes. Good luck if it does and try not’ to lose heart. Thinking of you.
Thank you sweetie, yes, I think it’s just something I’m going to have to live with unfortunately. Thanks honey! 😀 xxxx
Oh, how right you are. I’m at a time in my life where I need to reassess what it important, what I want, and what I need to let go. Life is all about change and transition. You’ve had some major upheavals, Sophie, but you’ve found joy and blessings despite the challenges. You’re an inspiration.
Honey, YOU are the inspiration! The battles you’ve had over the last two years that are still continuing to rumble just blow my mind. You’ve been an Amazon woman, fearless, fierce, strong, determined and above all an inspiration to me any every author that has been screwed over. Now…you need to take the time to breathe, to look after YOURSELF and heal your body, heart and soul. You’ve taken such a battering over the last few years sweetie, so take a step back, forget about other people for a moment, now it’s YOUR time, time to nurture yourself and get healthy and strong again. Please PLEASE be kind to yourself, okay? I wish we didn’t have a bloody big ocean between us otherwise I’d pop round to your house with a chocolate pudding and we’d have a good chat and moan over coffee, cake and hugs! Email me honey, if you want to talk about anything, okay? I know I’ve been absent recently but I’m back and I’m always here for you, okay? 🙂 xxxxx
I love looking at the night sky and trying to fathom it. Since I saw the earliest episodes of The Sky at Night with Patrick Moore as a kid, I’ve been hooked…and I am still watching it. The seasons changing reflect in the sky and the way it is different each time of year, eve each week, is awesome. I had a wonderful treat for my birthday this year. My sister and her hubby took me to the observatory at Herstmonceux in Sussex where Patrick Moore mapped the moon for the NASA missions early on. I wrote about it on my blog (with photos) and have even used the setting for one of my Ms Birdsong Investigates novels. Thanks for showing all the meteor charts and dates, fab. I am always looking with an old pair of binoculars…sadly no telescope yet. Wonderful pages Sophie, thanks for sharing…:)
Thank you Jane, yes, there’s nothing like gazing up at the stars to give you some perspective on your own life. Very humbling really. I’m embarrassed to admit that I actually have a telescope and I haven’t used it in years, dear dear, I shall dust it off now and get out there. The next big meteor event will be the Leonids I think, nearer to Christmas. I a SOOOO jealous about your trip, wow! I’d love to go there, that’s definitely on my ‘to do’ list! Cheers. xxx
Oh you must go if you can. So huge and interesting and so many lectures and exhibits to see. Spoiled for choice. I loved going into the huge telescopes and seeing the moon through them and having an astronomer explaining what we could see. I wish we could have been there all day. Actually only had a few hours there, but boy! So worth it. I do hope you will go one day. 🙂
Right, that’s on my list of must see things! 😀 I’ll definitely go there! xx
Maybe it was on those same nights of awe and wonder that we saw some of the same meteors streak across the sky, Sophie.
Health, however, needs appreciating when there, and support when not good or downright bad, health professionals, yes, needed, but more are families and friends, and pets:) to help us over rough days but still help us see and enjoy the good or better moments of all our days while enjoyment can be had.
To me two Latin phrases are good philosophies to live by: Carpe Diem, Carpe Somnium, seize the day, seize the dream.
Loved your blog 🙂
Lol, definitely! Yes, I haven’t been seizing the day or the dream much in life so now is the time to start! Health is everything, everything hinges on good health, it’s certainly something I’ll never take for granted. So glad you saw some meteors though sweetie, they really are quite something aren’t they? 😀 Thank you sweetie! 😀 xxx