I’m not sure why Al Stewart’s 1978 song “Time Passages” popped into my head this week. (YouTube link) It’s been decades since I’ve heard it. In the late 1970s, I was an Al Stewart fan and regularly played his albums, especially 1976’s The Year of the Cat, on my car’s very cool 8-track tape deck. Listening to “Time Passages” this week brought back memories – perhaps too many memories – of plaid bell-bottoms, platform shoes, gold chains...
I can only hope that when I look back on my current fashion choices, they don’t seem as unwise as my 1970s choices.
The song itself now strikes me as slight – nowhere near as insightful as it sounded in 1978. Funny how the passage of time can transform yesterday’s profundity into today’s What was I thinking?
There is one line in “Time Passages”, however, that continues to resonate: “The years run too short and the days too fast.”
As we head into the third month of isolation, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I perceive the passage of time, a subject that has always fascinated me.
My maternal grandmother, Lydia Pearl Walters, told me shortly before her death, “As I age, the years fly by, but the days drag on.” Her comment sticks with me 45 years later. I share my grandmother’s perception that the years do, indeed, seem to fly, but not her follow-up conclusion that the days drag.
Al Stewart captures it for me – my days run fast, including these days of isolation. In fact, all time – both days and nights – seems to have sped up. Even when I’m depressed or filled with anxiety. Or when I wake up, worried, at 4 am and can’t get back to sleep.
Many factors shape my perception of time. For one, I love the man I’m isolated with. I enjoy his company, his endless complexity, his energy, his creativity, his sense of fun, his cooking... Well, you get the picture. I also enjoy my own company. My daily five-kilometre walks with Edna and my SONY camera are highlights of the day. They get me out of the house, nurturing my creativity and curiosity.
Another factor that keeps time moving quickly is that I have things to do, creative things that I really enjoy: making and processing photos, creating slideshows, connecting with people, reading, writing... In fact, the last two months have been enormously productive. Having said that, however, I also recognize that I’m experiencing the world from a place of enormous privilege, being both securely housed and fed. Bottom line: I am humbled and grateful for the many blessings in my life.
The discipline of writing blog posts each week has been an enormous gift. It allows me the ongoing opportunity to put into words the flood of feelings, fears, joys, and ambiguities that are surfacing during the pandemic. I am pleased by the positive feedback these posts have received. It is deeply rewarding to know that my thoughts are resonating with others. I’m also gratified that my blog’s readership has doubled since mid-March, with most followers now coming from the USA.
Looking ahead, will I be happy to see fewer restrictions in our lives? Hug grandchildren? Welcome people into our home ? Take the train to Toronto for a day of photography? Absolutely!
And...will I also miss the discipline of COVID-19 restrictions? And the slower, quieter pace of life? A muted, qualified ‘yes’.
The photos: our front doors are portals into hospitality, celebration, and welcome. I have noticed lately that a growing number of east end Belleville homes feature cheerful, elaborate wreaths on their front doors. They offer the promise of days ahead when we can start welcoming people back into our homes. I offer these photos to help prepare us for that happy day. Enjoy.
Larry Tayler Photography
Belleville, Ontario, Canada