It came upon me very suddenly. Ambling down the tree- lined street towards home, after walking Tottie, I realised that if I saw those trees unfold their spring leaves twenty more times, that would make me seriously old and probably not able to do the walk I had just done. It was a staggering thought. Just twenty. The last twenty have passed in a flash and the next will pass even faster because, according to my friend Bertram anyway, perception plays the trick of speeding up time according to the length behind you.
I certainly remember balmy summer afternoons in childhood, when all was quiet on the streets and there was nobody to play with. When time stretched like the Namibian Desert , flat or undulating but most of all empty and dangerously boring. Now the days are full. The chatter inside my head is more complex. There are far too many choices. There is always something left to do and one is haunted by a feeling that one is always behind schedule. But who’s schedule is that? I live alone so I can please myself… But not, it would appear, when it comes to slowing down the passage of time.
Since that moment of realisation, I’ve started to call the time that I’ve got left (if the untoward doesn’t happen), ‘the duration’. I buy a good set of saucepans, an expensive coat, a rug for the sitting room floor and somewhere in the back of my head I see the words ‘for the duration’ flagged up. I’ve decided since that moment of realisation that I will stay in The Warren ‘for the duration’, as it’s ideal for old lady’s legs, being close to the shops and the buses. Even my little green van with 85K on the clock and a wealth of scratches and dents will do ‘for the duration’.
Or as my mother used to say; ‘it will see me out’. The meaning of these words is starting to fizz like a branding iron on my forehead. I’m that old am I? Old enough to be turning into my mother? No never. For one thing, unlike her I am alone and happy with my own company. Actually I’ve never been really alone, since I identified my stitch in the eternal tapestry of life. This is my own individual vibration, as different from anyone else’s, as my fingerprint or my DNA profile. My very own frequency that I can tune, through intention, with the frequency of the Great Everything, so that the music of the cosmos sings through my veins, clearing blockages that might have grown there since the last purge. All I have to do is plug in and off I go like some little electric car. And the good thing is that this one is within, not out there annoying people on urban pavement and making me grow fat.
All I have to do now, is live every second, every minute, every hour, every day. And be grateful that I am here, having carved a serene place in the chaos, happy and hopefully healthy ‘for the duration’. But I have to say that the ‘realisation of twenty’ has made me think again about the possibility of having time to sow and nurture, let alone harvest another intimate relationship. I think I’d rather spend the (short) time getting intimate with Beethoven, a man who really understands what I am talking about.