On Time

Alice sighed wearily. `I think you might do something better with the time,’ she said, `than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.’

`If you knew Time as well as I do,’ said the Hatter, `you wouldn’t talk about wasting IT. It’s HIM.’

`I don’t know what you mean,’ said Alice.

`Of course you don’t!’ the Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’

`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’

`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock. For instance, suppose it were nine o’clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you’d only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!’
— Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Rebelbelle at Open Diary commented on a bumper sticker about killing time, and mused about why anyone would wish to do such a thing, and I had to smile, both because I agree so strongly with the sentiment, and because it reminded me of Alice’s remarks at a famous tea party.

We seem to treat Time as our adversary, we fight it, race against it, beat it, and kill it – instead of embracing it. It takes a minute to play a certain Waltz, about ten to boil water, twenty to bake a cornbread in a cast-iron skillet (not including prep-time), an hour to wash a load of laundry, a day for paint to dry, and 70-90 years to experience a life.

Why not embrace time. In that minute, lose yourself in the music. While waiting for the kettle to boil or the coffee to brew, spend a moment playing with your dog, or smooching your significant other. While the laundry is spinning around in circles, take a walk, or read a book, but don’t think of any of these things as killing time, but celebrating it.

We are given a collection of moments, all strung together to form a somewhat coherent whole. Shouldn’t we attempt to find the treasures in every day things, in the small spaces of time while we’re waiting for other stuff to happen, rather than searching for a stretch of time that we perceive is long enough in which to accomplish something worthwhile?