In a Word . . .

. . . Time

 

There we are, half the year gone and not a child in the house washed! It is such a cliché to repeat that as one gets older, time just disappears. But, as one gets older, that is the experience.

It was always thus. The Romans may have lacked the will or imagination to go that one step further west and “discover” Ireland but it was they who coined the phrase “tempus fugit”: time flies. Virgil, to be exact, in his Georgics poem.

The year is already in its descent even as we have yet to reach the heights of summer. After all, the shortest night was just last week. And who now needs to be reminded that 2019 has already lost its bright, bristling youth and is settling into the more pastel shades of adulthood.

Yet, as lovely June departs us for another 11 months, it is too soon for lamentation and too difficult to feel woe on these warm, long twilight evenings as light remains loath to leave us. Cherish it while we may, with more to look forward to in July, August, even September.

But the year has turned, and whereas in those last weeks of December a similar turn bestows hope on those who hate the dark, as they realise the free-wheel to longer days has begun, it should not now promote dread amongst any of us.

Too soon for that.

It is a sad fact that negative people only ever see the cloud, missing out on any silver lining. That should not allow the rest of us be distracted from the brilliance of these longer days stretching ahead for months. We should relish them, in the moment, even as we know they are passing. Then, so are we.

It was Pádraig Pearse who wrote: “The beauty of the world hath made me sad,/This beauty that will pass . . . Will pass and change, will die and be no more,/Things bright and green, things young and happy;/And I have gone upon my way/Sorrowful.’ ’ It bespeaks a melancholy mindset.

The beauty of the world should make us happy. It should make us glad, not sad. We should relish it, and allow it lift our hearts. Because it is all around us now, even as the year has turned.

Time: from Old English tima , Old Norse timi , Swedish timme

inaword@irishtimes.com

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