The thing about Time…

Phew.  That was some crazy Christmas.

There are still homes without power here in TO, but the sun is shining today and the snow/ice seems to be melting into that less-than-lovely slush that is one of the icky aspects of life in the downtown core.  Hopefully the increasing temperature will help the wonderful hydro workers who have been labouring without rest- or time with their own families- to get everyone back into the light and warmth of the season.

I feel like I haven’t stopped to take a breather- although obviously not to the same extent as the tireless light-bringers- but that’s all good.  It’s part of the time of year.  Some quietude should come this weekend- at least to a degree.  And then the celebrations will begin anew as we ring in 2014.

How did that happen?  Sometimes it amazes me how quickly time passes.  I’ve written before about the peculiarity of that particular human construct- driven, as it is, by the sun, moon, stars, seasons, turns of the earth and all that.  But we do value time interestingly- especially at this time of year.

Depending on your personal life circumstances there may often seem to never be enough hours in a day- to get things done, get enough rest, spend time with family and friends.  I’ve also written (extensively/ad nauseum, depending on your perspective) about how we seem to increasingly choose to waste huge chunks of time- on meaningless/mindless television, listening to manufactured cookie-cutter music, arguing about issues that should have been put to rest eons go and that are completely out of keeping with the access we have to the awareness of our globally shared humanity…

Yes.  If you scan back through the posts (over 100- surprising, that) I’ve completed since starting this little piece of the WordPress World last March, you’ll see pretty clearly that I have a few opinions about a couple of things and tend to express those opinions by drawing connections to our communal stories and songs.  I’m not alone in this- I’ve discovered a great many minds that work similarly to mine since I’ve become part of this community, along with those minds that express similar ideas through the media of poetry or short story or pure ranting and rolling with the issues at hand.

I love it.  I love the conversations I have seen started, the dialogues that remain ongoing, the friendships that I’ve developed- as I look for new posts and updates on sticky or joyous situations.  It’s a wonderful World- but one that can certainly become time consumptive.

If I had those extra hours in the day I would certainly spend some of them reading and commenting on more of the blogs I’ve come to love.  But I certainly do make every effort to check in with you all as often as I can.  Pre-colemining I truly had no concept as to just how reciprocal the blogosphere really is.  We read, we support, we send each other in different directions… It’s a fantastic way to learn new things and gain new insights into our fellow humans.

It’s an every day case study of our continually developing mythologies and worldviews.

Both in the outside world that is my Toronto and here in the WP World, there’s been a whole lot of talk about time lately- some of it in the form of discussions of everyone’s favourite Time Lord, Doctor Who.  I’m a sporadic fan, I admit (in that I will always watch it given the opportunity, but of late I have made few opportunities to do so), but I am endlessly fascinated by the story and the development of the mythology and the character changes- written into the mythology and therefore absolutely integral to the whole thing.  And it’s funny.  And about goodness.  And perseverance.  And fighting the good fight.

The Doctor and I are very often on the same page- ideologically and eccentricity-wise- and I see in him, and in the resurgence of his popularity, a reason for optimism.  The show is smart (in this it is not alone- there is some other, great programming out there these days) and quirky and focused simultaneously on the past, present and future- emphasizing the fact that the three are inextricably linked and vital to one another.  In an era in which we seem determined to either forget or rewrite our history, I love this element of the stories.

Time runs- keeps on running- and is something that needs to be appreciated rather than squandered and then forgotten about.  Like so much in this commercial, material world, it has become at once precious and easily tossed away.

Weird how we do that.  Say we NEED something so desperately- whether it’s extra time, a piece of designer clothing, a new television/cell phone/laptop- and then toss it aside without a thought when it’s delivered into our hands.  Whenever something better, or easier, comes along.

In my last post I included a brief Shuffle Daemon holiday song selection- brief, partly because the post was getting long (even for me- which is saying something) and partly because I was pressed for time.  One of the residual effects of this time crunch is that things can be forgotten, left off, or out.

If you’re a regular visitor hereabouts a) I thank you sincerely, and b) you’ve probably recognized that my musical tastes don’t run to the female singer variety- very often at least.  I’m not entirely sure why this is- there ARE some fabulous female musicians out there- those of singular voice (Annie Lennox, for one- love her greatly) and/or musical and creative versatility.  But for some reason I have always gravitated to the dudes and their songs.  My friends think it’s weird, but they’ve pretty much accepted that none of my party playlists are going to have all that many ladies singing the blues for our edification and enjoyment.

Another exception to this not-rule (it’s more a habit of a lifetime) appears on my annual Christmas playlist.  She, along with the late Kirsty MacColl- who so memorably spars with Shane MacGowan in The Fairytale of New York– are pretty much the only ladies who back up my holiday comings and goings with some seasonal wisdom.

Like Midge’s Dear God, this one used to get a whole lot of airplay on MuchMusic (back in the days when it was the Nation’s MUSIC Station and played something other than SNL marathons) on Christmas day.

In addition to the fact that the video features angelic children singing, well angelically, We Belong is a song about holding on to important things- and not squandering time, or love, or relationships in general.  As such, it is perfectly matched with the time of year and all the sentiments and reflection of the season.

Don’t want to leave you, really
I’ve invested too much time
To give you up that easy
To the doubts that complicate your mind…

 Father Time is an off-shoot representation of the Titan Chronos, described, in Greek mythology, as the father of that king of the Olympians, Zeus.  He personified time, and, with his three heads and equally serpentine consort, Ananke, circled the primal world egg and separated it from the ordered universe.  He became amalgamated with another Titan, Cronus/Kronus, who overthrew his father, Uranus, by castrating him with the sickle or scythe created by Gaia, Mother Earth, for the purpose.

While the Greeks saw Kronus as a force of disorder and chaos, the Romans associated him with Saturn- their god of peace and plenty- and dedicated their festival, Saturnalia, in his honour.  He became the god of calendars, seasons and harvest and the two- Chronos and Kronus- eventually became one: Father Time.

Saturnalia was celebrated in December (roughly the 17th-23rd in the Julian calendar), and, during Rome’s Golden Age, featured feasts and parties to anticipate and celebrate the renewal of light, the coming of the new year and the overturning of social norms and expectations, for a time.  It was a celebration of the social egalitarianism that marked the era, and many of its customs (including gingerbread men, caroling and gift giving) influenced early Christian celebrations of their own holiday- Christmas.  Eventually, as a way of mass converting the Romans under their (now) political dominance, the early Christian church integrated Saturnalia into its annual marking of the birth of its deity.

As I think about the year gone by and the one just around the corner, one of the promises I will make- to myself and to those who I am fortunate enough to have share their lives with me- is to be more conscious of time– not in an obsessive ‘I’m going to be late’ kind of way-  but with an awareness that it is a precious- and limited- commodity.

Whether you chose to celebrate the return of the light, the birth of a saviour, the miracle of the lamp, or just the turning of another year, it bears remembering that, for us mere mortals at least, time keeps on ticking by.  Invested time should not be wasted without efforts to recover the reasons why the investment was deemed worthwhile, once upon a time.  This holds true of relationships and all endeavours which we undertake in order to play out our life stories in the best ways possible.

Welcoming the New Year with the hope and expectation of the wonder it will bring while sending off the old with acknowledgment and a maintenance of all those things that retain importance and vitality.  That’s the way I plan to begin the adventures of 2014.  Hoping the same goes for all of you.

32 comments on “The thing about Time…

  1. Rick says:

    For such a short a simple word, time has been the focus of so much. Songs. Poems. Books. Movies. Everyone is interested in time. Maybe it’s because time is running out.

    • colemining says:

      Rick- I fear it might be. And isn’t it interesting that it is a concept that is both vitally important and passed off as something to be thrown away as if it means nothing? Thanks for reading!

  2. I don’t remember how our paths crossed in 2013, but I am so very glad they did. I’m grateful you took the time to write this characteristically insightful, intelligent, and well-written piece. I am happy I risked being pulled into the blogosphere — when time is extremely limited for me right now — to read it, and I wish I had more time write all the things I would like to say in response. In short — at least as my own tendency to verbosity will allow — I’m looking forward to reading (and thinking more) about your posts in 2014 and beyond.

    I confess to clicking on this one because of the song choice. Pat Benator certainly did this song justice, but it is a sentimental favorite of mine because of the writers, Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro, whose other songs you might enjoy — and not only for allusions to Sisyphus and Prometheus. As a duo, they were smart and fun and just plain wonderful. Eric passed away after a long and triumphant struggle with ALS a few years ago. Here’s more about why I love that song:

    Happy new year, my blogger friend.

    • Augh. Benatar. ::forehead on desk::

    • colemining says:

      HC! Happy holidays to you! I am endlessly amazed by the people that I have been privileged to encounter in the blogging world. There is so much great insight out there- it really is a remedy of sorts to much of the mainstream nonsense we are subjected to daily.

      I should have credited Lowen and Navarro as the songwriters, but I admit I wasn’t able to figure out how to integrate it smoothly- and I was pressed for time. I do love their story- and their contribution to the world of music. Pat Benatar’s version is one of my sentimental favourite songs at this time of year, so I have to admit to giving other versions something of a a short shrift. Thank you for the link- I love things like that!

      And thank you for your kind words. I look forward to further exchanges and your own deep insights in 2014.

  3. evolution says:

    This article was featured in BBC’s 100 Things We Didn’t Know Last Year:–just-likely-remember-did.html

    A lot of people say that time is speeding up, and relating to this article, I think about how dynamic and stimulating our days are compared to say, even 20 years ago. The availability of information for us to mull over is astounding, and for myself personally, mentally processing this huge variety of stimuli through bloggers alone makes time go very quickly – and I do find joy in it. It will be interesting to see how we change as a world culture as we all mentally ingest (with regularity and speed) so many perspectives and viewpoints from around the world.

    • colemining says:

      Evolution- what an interesting article!
      I think we do view time differently than we used to, and you’re right that the access we have to information is certainly a big part of it. I’m hopeful that we will do as you suggest and start really thinking about the many perspectives and viewpoints that we have available to us.
      Thank you for reading- and all the best for the New Year!

  4. Grace says:

    “Invested time should not be wasted without efforts to recover the reasons why the investment was deemed worthwhile, once upon a time,” so beautifully expressed, so true. Happy New Year, colemining!
    ~ Grace

    • colemining says:

      Thank you Grace. We take time so much for granted- and I think this is part of the reason why everything in our society- from relationships to material trappings- are seen as disposable.

      Happy New Year to you! Thanks, as always, for reading!

  5. bethbyrnes says:

    My cold kept me from reading and commenting but today I feel well enough to do so. I think Nora Jones is an excellent musician, songwriter and vocalist.

    As for Saturn, you are likely quite versed in all the astrological and Hermetic connections with Saturn, time, limitation/strength, and the approximate period that Saturn rules – Dec 21 – January 20, with all the associations freighted on it. Some day I will post on this as I am a fan of Jungian psychology, the archetypes, and human associations with these overarching themes.

    Enjoyed this post and the last, Cole, as always.

    • colemining says:

      Thanks Beth- glad you are feeling a bit better.

      As you know, I love all discussions of archetypes (Jungian and otherwise) and Hermeticism- in all its manifestations. I look forward to the post!

      Thanks for reading!

  6. This post had me thinking of the heretical books of Richard Hoagland. What if there was an element of truth buried within the myth?

    (If this doesn’t peak your interest, I don’t know what will.)

    • colemining says:

      Lol. While I do try to keep an open mind about all things, the whole ‘ancient aliens’ thing isn’t really something I find all that credible- at least not to any significant degree. I tend to do a lot of yelling at the tv when one of the shows about ‘aliens in Egypt’ or the like happens to be on. And the overlap of aliens and archaeology completely ruined Indy, for me- so I’m not sure I can forgive them for that.

      Conspiracy theorists in general make me kind of exhausted, TBH. There is enough wonder and mystery to be found without forcing connections and imagining hidden agendas everywhere. I think we need to focus on the all-too-visible agendas of our governments right now and stop the continuing damage they are doing as they further their own best interests at the expense of the community/province/nation.

      Thanks Nav!

  7. […] at Cole Mining, you can read an interesting piece about time. It is a well written post about time and its many facets. It is thought-provoking and worth your […]

  8. I’ve struggled with Time most of my life. Sometimes it seems elastic, and I get all sorts of things done effortlessly. Wonderful days, but rare. Mostly I hear that ticking clock and have to tell myself it’s OK if I don’t get x, y and z done today (or ever).
    One of the good things that happened in 2013 was finding your blog and a few others through Project O (although I have disengaged from Harsh Reality — too harsh, maybe?) 😉 You’re certainly right about WordPress providing connections and opportunities for debate and discussion.
    Happy New Year to you.

    • colemining says:

      Audrey- do I ever understand what you’re talking about. Time can be a tricky thing to navigate. I struggle with the need to get things done in a timely fashion and the awareness that it isn’t always possible, constantly.

      Sometimes I can hardly believe that I’ve been part of the WP World for less than a year- it feels as if I’ve known some of you always (another trick that time can play…).

      Thank you for your support and engagement and all the very best for the New Year. I look forward to our future discussions!

  9. DyingNote says:

    Time is always running out. It’s just that we’re more conscious of it at the end of the calendar year than at any other time during its course.

    I’m glad I came upon this and all thanks to Rick through his Surrounded By Imbeciles blog.

    • colemining says:

      This is so true- we only really take note of its passing at this time of year or when deadlines loom or responsibilities pile up. I think we have to work at being more time-conscious the whole year ’round.

      Thank you for visiting- and thanks to Rick for the re-direct! Hope you enjoy perusing some of these little thoughts o’ mine.

  10. Hope you are safe and warm in TO! Happy New Year!

  11. yakinamac says:

    Very wise words. I’ll be adding a stronger appreciation of time to my list of new year’s resolutions! Mind you, with only eight weeks to go before my unpaid leave comes to an end, I think I’ll find it fairly easy to keep that one for the first part of the year, at least!

    • colemining says:

      Happy New Year! Time management is my current focus (and the subject of today’s post- if I ever manage to get it finished) so we seem to be on the same page. I’m needing to keep to that resolution- and keep the nose to the grindstone. All the best for the home-stretch- hope that you accomplish all you have planned. Eight weeks seems like a sizable chunk of time, but man, can it fly by quickly!

  12. […] of these responsibilities can be hard to negotiate (as I mentioned in my last post regarding the vagaries of Time) and any wrench- regardless of size or import- tossed into the planning and execution of attempts […]

  13. […] mentioned in my last post (which was oh-so-long-ago- and refuses to link.  That whole time thing is getting to me again) that I had a discussion (for want of a better word) with a close […]

  14. […] love this World.  As I’ve mentioned before, the most wonderful and surprising thing I have discovered since starting this blog a little less […]

  15. […] truly one of the longest days of my life (that whole ‘time is relative’ thing again)- I kept thinking that ‘if I can just keep standing until […]

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