tree section

I’m fascinated by the ways in which we visualise time, especially the passage of time. Although we’re used to seeing circular clock faces, with the hands turning round, ending up back were they begin, I suspect that many of us think of time passing as a linear progression – from now to then will be a straight line moving away from the start point.

If we think about history – do we consider that events happened in the distance – further away from us the longer ago they happened?

If  we think about our lives, do we consider them to be linear progressions – and if we’re over fifty, do we think in terms of more behind than in front?

For ages now, I’ve been wondering about other ways to visualise time. The one that appeals to me is the circular progression.  Here, instead of imagining life moving forward, I see it turning, through the four seasons, coming back to the start point, but now enfolding the experience of the events lived through those seasons – the good, bad and ugly. In this way, each new turn in the season sees us having within us all that which has already gone before – just as a tree adds a ring with each year that passes, some rich thick rings, some meaner, thin rings – but with the whole tree growing wider as time turns, containing within it, all that it has experienced.

I like to think of myself like that – embracing the cycle of the seasons and the cycle of life, growing all the time and benefiting from everything that happens as I go round. And from this perspective, as we get older, we have more within to sustain us, who knows, maybe getting a bit wiser each cycle?

Of course if you take the analogy too literally, you see yourself getting fatter too – oh well…






Author: Anny

English countryside, old places, making art.

15 thoughts on “Time…”

  1. I love this post – it really speaks to me thank you for putting into words what I suspect I have been thinking too only I didn’t realise it. I like the metaphor of the tree and of course trees also have patterns in their rings of bad years and good years both and they don’t grow evenly and perfectly either any more than we do. I wonder what our “rings” would show if it were possible to read them as those who know how can read a tree’s life. Fascinating stuff – thanks for sharing.

    1. I’m glad it resonates with you too – I walk past that tree stump almost every day and then the other morning something clicked – life is funny sometimes. I like the idea of seeing our own tree rings.

  2. I’ve always visualized a year like a squashed circle, with the new year at the top and the summer months stretched out flat along the bottom. (Kinda weird, I know) The tree analogy is lovely and I’ve never thought of it like that, but I should. I’m often wistful imagining the days and memories of my childhood and younger years slipping through my fingers and back into a glitter sea of time. It would ease the angst to instead imagine them building up within me. This is such a beautiful post – I feel like I could go on and on about it.

    1. I’d love to do a survey and find out how other people ‘see’ time – we all have our own take on it – squashed circle makes sense – although I’d have winter stretched out – maybe a function of local climate! Try imagining that the child you is still inside you – one of the earlier rings – it feels lovely.

  3. A very thought provoking post! I like to think of life like a tree where we spread out further and further as each year passes and the tree grows and each of the leaves is someone we have met or maybe just smiled at along the way.

    1. That’s beautiful – I love your leaf analogy. Trees have a long established place in various cosmologies – not difficult to see why when they inspire us in so many ways.

  4. There is something very moving about seeing the history of a tree written in its rings, particularly as we see it only when the tree is no longer alive. Your post is leading me to stop and reflect – thank you x

  5. The cyclical notion of time has always appealed to me too … as a country girl I feel very close to the seasons and I do think each passing year enriches us. Great post Anny 🙂

  6. A super, thought-provoking post, Anny, which I’ve bookmarked for further pondering. I really love the thought of having my own tree rings inside me – all the good years and the bad – making me the person I am, older, fatter (for sure) but hopefully wiser. 🙂

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: