Dear Readers, last Saturday was my 58th birthday and I would very much like to know where the past twenty years have gone. It seems as if everything has speeded up , the days whizzing past like hailstones, and no sooner have I put the Christmas decorations away than it’s time to put them up again. But I do have a secret for helping time to slow down, and it’s this. Walk along a country lane very slowly on a damp day, and exercise your five senses to their utmost.
It helps if you are witnessed by a lone magpie, who chucks away at the top of a tree without ever launching into a full cackle.
And it also helps if there are hazel catkins about, and if they are sulphur yellow and shell pink. Perhaps some are fully open, exposing their pollen to the breeze, while some are still emerging and are tight speckled sausages.
There is a new robin singing every fifty feet, defending their tight territory.
The snowdrops are already out in the small field by the stream.
And here, of course, is a splendid horse. He was in the mood for a chat, but I sense he would much rather be trotting up the lane.
I think that I’ve noticed more in the past hour than I have in the previous seven days combined. It’s so easy for me to live in my head, thinking about the past, planning for the future, without ever paying attention to what’s actually going on. Creating this blog reminds me that wherever I am, there is always something interesting going on if I just open up to it. And if life is richer, time seems to go more slowly, which is one explanation for why the days seem so long when we’re children – every thing that we see and do is filled with novelty, and piques our interest. There’s much to be said for spending at least part of every day in a state of ‘beginner’s mind’, as if everything is new. Because, in a way, it is.