Bang on time for the start of spring, the trees behind my house have sprouted flowers; a welcome change from the bare, gaunt visage which has greeted my eyes over the last few months. In its place is a splash of colour – bright pink – which is always welcome in our neck of the woods, known more for the ubiquity of grey granite and grey weather than anything else.
New lights at work also speak to this season of change, the new brightness being so disconcerting that for the first few seconds I thought I had come off on the wrong floor. Speaking to the Facilities folks suggests these may be SAD lights, a bit late in the day given the changing of the season, but welcome nonetheless. It feels like this will take a while to get used to, fingers crossed.
Times, seasons, the fleeting nature of life and the speed with which the year has sped by so far are all things which stumbling on trees in bloom force me to reflect on; particularly because in a few days time I will have spent six years working in the same building.
Settled, or in a rut? The jury is still out on that I suspect.
Life – and time – have a penchant for throwing up surprises, ones which are sometimes welcome, but (perhaps more often than not?) unwelcome. Never more obvious is this than in the passage of time as measured by times, seasons and the lives of others. Somehow life in the moment, in the here and now – never seems to move at pace; only with the benefit of hindsight does the amount of time that has elapsed become obvious.
This, the apparent disconnect between time in the moment and time as Time, was brought home to me this week thanks to a chance conversation with my cousin V. Out and about for a quick lunch time walk to clear my head, stretch my legs and get some fresh air, I run into him on the corner of Market and Hadden Streets. As we have a quick chat, he mentions that it is his daughter’s birthday tomorrow – her fifth. I distinctly remember being at her first birthday, seemingly only a couple of years ago. How four years have gone by so quickly beggars belief in my mind.
It is now just over two years since H passed. The keenness of loss has been medicated by the time which has passed since then, which I suppose is a good thing. The new normal is more and more embedded, with occasional triggers like remembering one of her favourite songs – When I look into Your Holiness – being the things which jolt one back to the reality of loss. With all that, and the song, came memories of children’s Sunday school and growing up at Chapel in the early 90’s.
One of the more interesting things I read this week was Anne’s musing about spiders; which reminded me that I am due a free eye test; yet another reminder of the passage of time, and in my case how dependent on my glasses I am to function in the real world. On the odd occasion my glasses fall off the cabinet next to my bed, I struggle to find them, such is the state of my eyes these days.
The nip in the air is another telling indicator of the passage of time. It was spring not too long ago, then summer, and now we stand on the cusp of autumn. It is not heaters-blazing-with-multiple-duvets weather yet but it doesn’t feel like there is much between this and that. Word around town is that this year’s winter is likely to be harsher than the last. For now, it is dry, cold and sunny. That, I can deal with.
If clocking in at 9am is the final act that seals my very own Faustian exchange, 3.00pm heralds the first faint sniffs of a coming salvation.
Each day, a Bloke must lay the gifts of his time and skill on the altar of Mammon slaving away to earn his sustenance. Cups of coffee, endless trips to the loo, inane spreadsheets, chats with the intern and the occasional hard shift are all tools in the Bloke’s arsenal as he strives to make time pass quickly to justify the day’s pay. If the Bloke is lucky, make that uncommonly lucky, he finds his daily grind slightly more than remotely interesting. If he is like the rest of us, sometimes work is a long drawn out struggle with boredom.
After a break for coffees at 10.00am and lunch at 12.00 noon, I find that 2.00pm can often seem like the low point of the day. The conjoint action of a rush of blood to the stomach – especially if a heavy lunch was involved – and the usually mind numbing meetings with clients typically leave me struggling to stay attentive. Enter 3.00pm, an unlikely hero to the rescue. Maybe it is the fact that just after 3.00pm freedom from the drudgery of work suddenly seems a less elusive proposition, or that other blokes are more likely to stand around and chat, or that we as a collective subconsciously switch into coasting down mode. Day after day I have sensed a lift in my spirits and attention levels as the clock has chimed 3.00pm. Bar 5.00pm then, 3.00pm is my favourite time of the working day…
I wonder if the 3.00pm thing is a me-only thing?