This afternoon, with all fed, settled, watered and no one needing me, I laid down with the eight puppies in the shade. No more work or computer screens or lists of things to do. Instead, I lay beside our sleeping puppies and watched the moon rise between the branches of an old maple. It took me by surprise, the moon in a bright summer sky, but there it was.
Time measured in puppy sighs and moonrise is real time. I felt as if I was watching the world turn, inexorably onwards, at a slow, even regal pace that – if attended to wholeheartedly – put into perspective the folly of artificial time by which life is too often measured.
When is my plane leaving? How long till the clothes are dry? Can I get to the bank before it closes? How long will this job take me? Why is this person so late? I don’t want to eat now. I need more sleep. Time comes at me in rushes. Forced measures of time, activities out of sync with my own rhythyms wear me down, and I feel the need for animal time, tree time, wind and clouds time. I know this is true for many people.
The solution is all around us.
Find a way, if you can, to measure a bit of your day in real chunks of time: how long it takes a bumblebee to check all the flowers on that plant; how long before a puppy grumbles in the humid heat and wriggles to a cooler place in the grass; how long before the resting hummingbird on the tree branch is ready to take wing again; how long till that tiny bug has reached the end of that blade of grass and waves its antennae into the wild empty space above itself.
Or maybe, just take the simple measure of how long the moon takes to rise or fall past a small piece of your sky.
How do you measure real time?