A matter of time…


I watched the sun go down tonight from the roadside. For once, the camera had not come with me… I was just driving to the shop and didn’t pick it up. Even so, I cursed myself for leaving the camera as I saw the huge, golden orb shot with crimson reflected in the rearview mirror. Too late to turn and go back, the sun would have gone by then but maybe, just maybe, I would be home in time…

No. Halfway home it was evident I wouldn’t make it, so, camera or not, I pulled over to watch the setting glory of an autumn day.

It took only a couple of minutes for the last of the blue to fade through a rainbow of colour to a molten sky, aflame against the silhouetted trees. Almost as if the sky was clothed in the colours of the School…I couldn’t help but smile.

It was the speed of those final moments, though, that struck me. In the space of just a few heartbeats, dusk became sunset and night swallowed the earth. The change came with incredible swiftness and was complete.

It made me think how fast our little planet is spinning, unnoticed by we who live and breathe her air. Hurtling through space around the sun at around seventy thousand miles an hour, rotating on its own axis at around a thousand miles an hour at the equator… and we are so habituated to that movement we never notice. Yet, we get motion sickness in a vehicle.

Our eyes and brains process light that hits a speed of six hundred and seventy million miles per hour…and we don’t bat an eyelid at that constant miracle. Our field of vision seems infinite. Even I, short-sighted as I am, think nothing of glancing up to say hello to Orion,  capturing in my gaze light which left the nebula nearly one thousand, three hundred and fifty years and nine trillion miles ago, to meet my eyes tonight. Some of the stars I see no longer even exist. Yet I have trouble getting to grips with things when I speak friends from ‘the future’ in timezones across the world. Odd, isn’t it?

We live our lives against the backdrop of the enormity of time, yet it often seems that all we know can change in a heartbeat. A single moment, a scintilla of time, and life can be transformed, becoming unrecognisable, both for better or for worse. It can be a small thing that changes a mood, moving a day from sadness to joy, or it can be the bigger events that upheave a lifetime.

Just like the movement of the earth, we often don’t even notice how these changes begin. Or even at all. Sometimes we think we can trace them back to a particular and pivotal event, if we look but it is hard, if not impossible, to untangle the skein of a lifetime. The further you try and trace an event’s beginning back to its roots, the more apparent it becomes that you cannot do so, for each event is dependent in some way upon the ones that preceded it and brought you to that point in time.

We cannot alter past events and the future is unscripted… which leaves us with now, this moment, this scintilla of time, in which to change our worlds. And we do so. All the time. And don’t even notice.

I deliberately took time to watch that sunset. It is something that happens every day, something that has happened over my head nearly twenty-two and a half thousand times since I was born and which I seldom consciously take time to watch. I have to ask myself how many of those days of my life I have missed, simply by taking them for granted and not drinking in each moment in full awareness of the possibilities they hold, not living with a passion.

Tonight the sky was a rainbow veil that turned to a sea of molten gold. And I never want to take that for granted again.

34 thoughts on “A matter of time…

  1. You are so right Sue, we take so much for granted. My mum always said the road to hell is paved with good intentions, it is we often say “I shall never take that for granted again” Yet we do because of what and who we are. Even the life changing moments, the fact that they have changed things stays for a while than it fades. It is our nature to try and just cope and all the beautiful, ugly, perfect or mind-blowing moments are transitory …. Our minds can only cope with so much. I do hope that I learn as I go through life but I still have my crop of coulda, shoulda woulda and a legion of if onlys. 💜💜💜

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Love the photo Sue.
    On the boat it was amazing how quickly the skies changed, but it was the peace and quiet of the berths we chose up river that were so lovely……….. the sound of nature in all its glory, something we had taken for granted living in a town.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For some reason unknown to me, I cannot seem to use the “like” button. I could not find anything on WordPress, but I am going to try again. I think all of us, whirling as we are in our own evolution, and trying to make good responses, or what we think at any given time is a good response to whatever things we are dealing with at the moment, is at best a fully challenging thing, but when some of these responses are built into our heads from our growing up in this old world also can get in the way. I guess the key is to keep trying to get it “right,” whatever right might mean to us in any given time or place.Thank you for the good comments. Thank you most kindly.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Wonderful, Eliza and I so agree. These things that seem so small can help us to make our lives last the longest I think. It is worrying about all the things “out there” that we can do little, if anything that shortens our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

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