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…