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.