There is a time for some things, and a time for all things; a time for great things, and a time for small things. Cervantes
Time has been on my mind this week, as I build a family time line. Judy Collins and Pete Seeger sang about time as well as anyone. I believe that the song’s timelessness is due to the source of the lyrics: Book of Ecclesiastes.
At this moment in my life, Time is iced with what-ifs sprinkled with regrets. However if I stop looking back, and consider the future, Time is opportunity. The ironical aspect of time is that it appears to move, yet remains still – a point in time. The onus is on me to turn Time into an active verb, by choosing how best to use the Time that remains because Time is finite.
As I build the family timeline the fragility of time becomes clear – the death of a stillborn child; the horrific suicide of a man who died alone, forgotten. The happy events, marriages, successful births, family occasions are like bursts of fireworks against a night sky, bright for a moment before fading to black.
Once the family milestones are completed, my plan is to add a backdrop of historical milestones to the timeline. The more I delve into the past, the more I discover how our family was shaped by circumstances beyond our control. When Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo peace came to Europe. A time to rejoice, was it not? Not, it turns out, for the people of Ireland. The war with the French had inflated the value of grain, Ireland’s most exportable commodity – the finest of cash crops. The price of wheat plummeted when peace arrived. The landlords turned to raising cattle, the next profitable commodity. Fields of wheat became pasture. Jobs disappeared. Farmers were turfed off the land. Peace fell on Europe and poverty blanketed Eire. My people emigrated to Canada.
Time. I will squeeze it like a lemon.