Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Time Passes Dropping Slow

 Time has a rhythm when I come back here that it lacks anywhere else.

To be fair, part of that is simply due to the fact that my life here is very streamlined;  all of my ordinary activities are curtailed as I am here alone.  There is no dog to walk (although I walk myself), no rabbits to clean, no cat to move about.  The gym is the floor of the living room and Iai class is practiced outside my door.  Meals, when eaten here, are Spartan, utilitarian, and almost inevitably the same: I am done with 10 minutes.

But even beyond those things - which are uses of time (though appropriate ones) - there is the overall sense of simply being away. 

I have written of it before, but there is no traffic here, no neighbors walking themselves or their dogs, no delivery trucks making their passes through the neighborhood.  My aunt or uncle may drive down from the Big House on an errand, The Cowboy will come by twice a day to water his garden and feed his cattle, neighbors may come occasional come by on walks or slow ATVs.  But that is for spots of time only.  

In the morning one hears the chirp of birds nearby and barking of dogs and sounding of roosters farther off.  The squirrels argue with each other over things I cannot comprehend:  the taste of acorns or whose trees is whose, I suppose.  Occasionally the cattle will start off on a sound off or the horses in the Lower Meadow will comment.  But all of this will die down in the late morning as the sun heats up and everyone sensibly retreats to the shade, to pick up their discussions in the evening.

Time just flows differently.

Even my work flows differently.  Why, I cannot be sure.  Is it the distance from the office, or just the realization that it some form or fashion, all of what I do is transient and this represents a reality that will be here when the job has moved on?  Perhaps it is the simple feeling that somehow, I am beyond their immediate reach, although not having been into the office more than a few times in the last 18 months.  I cannot imagine why I should feel that way;  old habits dying hard, I suppose.

The outside world is literally what I want of it:  the satellite dish was cancelled months ago and it is up to the InterWeb to provide me with as much or as little ongoing events as I desire.  Did I not have both the interest and need to keep up on current events and some very fine blog writing, I could literally go weeks without having the slightest idea what was going on in the world.

The older I get, the more it surprises me that people rush to the cities and urban areas - as I did - in the hope of finding a better or more rewarding life.  Perhaps we had to because or a job or a relationship, but over time this habit of being surrounded by life - not necessarily true Life, as in trees and birds and squirrels and deer and the changing of the seasons but life as defined by busyness - becomes so ingrained that it becomes habit.  Most people can imagine a day or three away from the world; I wonder if most can imagine years of doing it.

I somehow think we are poorer for the change.

Bonus Round:  I took a walk over the weekend on the Outer Loop, which goes around the property which my parents and my aunt and uncle own.  While I was on my walk, I found this:

Yup.  Appears to be a mountain lion.  We have had rain in last four days, so it is recent.  I know we have had a mountain lion up here; The Cowboy's son saw one years ago cutting through the Upper Meadow.  Just a good reminder that Nature is - literally - all around us.

Also a coyote- He is the brown blur just under the brush there, about 30 feet away.  He looked at me, moved into the brush, came back and looked again, and then carried on.  We have not seen them in several years.


  1. I felt my blood pressure dropping as you described time slowing down in this environment. I, too, am baffled by people's impulse to clump together in cities; I believe we are designed to need room to breathe, and city folk are so tense because of claustrophobia.

    1. Warren, my friend Hobo over at HR hobo refers to cities as "Human Feedlots", and upon consideration I thought the comparison was not inappropriate: millions of people crowded together, dependent on the outside world for food, removal of waste - really dependent on the outside world for everything. And completely packed together.

      For a lot of people - at least pre-Plague - the cities were where you had to go for work (post-Plague, opportunities seem to be opening up). And a love of the cities, at least in American history, really took off in the 1920's. A hundred years of urbandom. Are we truly that much better off? Yes, great discoveries come from the cities, but they are so very crowded, so very busy, and so very dependent on the world around them to provide them with everything.

      To be fair, most city people would likely go mad here after a few days. There is so little to "do".

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. I have hit the weird timeline as well. I've been off work since July 4th week. Breathing is still limited, and the recovery has been VERY slow. My days race by, and suddenly it's the weekend again.

    My life as I knew it is gone. I'm coming to terms with my new found frailty, and planning for the new future that appears to be heading towards me at flank speed.

    Things that were assets are now looking more like liabilities. Old investments as not performing as expected. But I'm still above ground, and that means God isn't finished with me yet. What an interesting place to be. It's not what I expected, and I'm not very graceful in this new place. Like the gravity is different, and I'm learning my limits all over again.

    1. STxAR, I continue to pray for your recovery - has it really been two months?

      I think you are in the midst of an important change, one that in some way or shape comes to all of us - a change in circumstances, physical or mental or environmental, that causes our life to significantly change in ways we did not plan for or expect.

      There are two types of people when faced with those circumstances: those that fight against adapting and those that adapt. To a person, those that fight against it - at least in my experience - always seem unhappy because they are trying to get back to a version of themselves that is never returning. Those that adapt generally seem to do better, as they learn what their new limits are and focus on thriving there.

      Or, to quote someone smarter than I, "Bloom where you are planted".

  3. Channeling your inner Seneca.

    1. Ed - It is a funny story, if you know it. The actual Seneca, Lucius Anneas Seneca, was somewhat accused of a similar issue: a Stoic philosopher who theoretically did not value ownership, he became rather fabulously wealthy. It was a point of contraindication in his life, one that he struggled to get out of, until he finally turned everything over to the Emperor Nero and went to live "the simple life" (his thanks for his efforts were his eventual suicide at Nero's command).

      But thank you. If Seneca and I are merging in thought, then perhaps I will be the better man for it.

  4. TB, I believe you are beginning to catch a glimpse of a very profound but fundamental truth. Masanobu Fukuoka and Wendell Berry both allude to it in their writings, but I don't think it is a truth that can be intellectually explained and understood. It must be experienced. I'm not saying that I understand it, but in pursuing the life I now have, I've begun to glimpse it myself.

    That truth is that humans "proper place" is as a functioning part of nature, i.e. the natural world, i.e. the natural creation, i.e. the ecosystem. Our place isn't as owners, managers, users, directors, impartial observers, conservationists, environmentalists, or protectors in the sense that we put it in a box and lock it up so no one can touch. Rather, we have a god-given responsibility to steward and serve it.

    I'm discovering the more one participates in this natural world, the less real the man-made world becomes. I rather wonder if this isn't what the Zen and Buddhist masters mean when they refer to life as an illusion. The illusion is one we've created for ourselves. The more we develop it, the greater the disconnect between "reality" and nature.

    Those are my observations and conclusions, anyway.

    1. Leigh - If I ever reach one tenth of the wisdom of those men, I will be gratified indeed.

      I think you have the right of it. We do best when we realize and accept that we are part of the system of creation. The command "Care for the Garden" certainly implies that, instead of "Exploit the Garden" or "Make sure nothing at all ever happens to the Garden". It is like almost anything else: we cannot fully understand the system or the activity or the game unless we are involved in it. As spectators and researchers, our understanding will only ever go so far. I can theoretically tell you how one should know how when to pull garlic; unless I have pulled garlic, it will never be truly tested and thus never truly true.

      I do not think it is just the Zen and Buddhist masters that have grasped this; Christian mystics have this same understanding (although sadly, they have suffered rather greatly at the hands of the Protestant Reformation, which is a pity). They, in their rapture of the union with God and Christ, have a similar experience of being so caught up in the nature of the supernatural that the man-made system seems incredibly dull and lifeless. Reading the experiences of monastics, it often comes across in a similar fashion: in simplicity and regularity, they find a peace and enlightenment that escapes those of us that labor mightily in our busyness to find it on the outside.

      In Iaijutsu, we ultimately practice against no other foe than ourselves. When we practice drawing and cutting, we cut down our old selves and the things that prevent us from being our true and best selves. Likewise, in your example, the more we disconnect from what is perceived as our "reality" or the way things have to be, the more we find actual reality as it is.

      But it costs, of course. It requires silence and quiet and dedication to thought and involving one's self in the simple rhythms of life, being they gardening or working with one's hands, and a willingness to stay at it for years. It is something that one either has to have the discipline imposed on one, as in a monastery, or have the patience and strength of will to persevere until one discovers it on one's own.

  5. Time flies different because you are closer to God in the quiet, than when in the city?

    Our quiet is getting noisier as construction starts to close in.

    You all be safe and God bless, TB.

    1. It does Linda, at least for me - partially because by default I have built in more busyness in my life in the city, partially because there is simply more silence and less distraction here.

      Yours is my fear as well - although we have enough space here to keep the construction at bay, within my lifetime this place will become noisier and more crowded.

  6. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Thank you for another beautiful post. This one speaks to my heart.

    1. Anonymous - You are so very welcome. Thank you for stopping by.


Your comment will be posted after review. If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!