It is night – or actually very early morning and I cannot sleep – again. Tonight it is possibly because I have to pick Tinus up from the airport in five hours. It’s not very hot, or at least not for nighttime in Dubai - around 24 degrees Celsius according to the weather on my phone. I have opened the French doors leading out onto the small balcony outside our bedroom. The Mosque glows like an alabaster lamp through the palm leaves of the dead palm tree in our garden. There is a lovely cool breeze dancing around the curtains and I can hear the guys from the small Mosque grocery close up for the night. They have 7-11 written on their sign but they close after midnight on most nights and are very seldom open by seven. In that way a large part of Dubai is very similar to the large part of Africa that consider any reference to time a mere suggestion and find it strange when you are upset when they are not there when their signs say they will be.
It was in Malawi when I first really thought about the significance of time – Tinus and I were on our honeymoon (two months with backpacks in Africa) and we were planning to take the bus from Livingstone in the Northern part of Malawi to Lilongwe to the South were we needed to get a flight to Zimbabwe. We stayed in the lovely Livingstone Hotel where the service was good (everything is relative – we are talking Africa proper.)
We managed to get a time schedule for the bus somewhere; it would arrive on Tuesday at eight in the morning. We got the friendly porter / waiter / bellboy / curio-shop-assistant to wake us up at six, we had breakfast, settled our bill and arrived under the tree (honestly – under a tree, no bus stop sign, just under a tree) with our backpacks neatly packed at seven thirty – just in case the bus ran ahead of schedule. In the context of this blog I’m sure you would not be surprised to find that we were still sitting under the same tree at eight o’clock that night. It was in fact only two days later that the bus finally did arrive loaded with happy smiling people and their animals. The bus journey to the South was a story by itself but it was in the two days between the scheduled time and the actual arrival of the bus that I became aware of the fact that time is not real, and the keeping thereof is optional.
SO … have you thought of time? One of the first rhymes I remember reciting is Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the clock … We have to be on time for school, for planes, trains and other means of transport that takes us from one appointment to another. In the military I was taught that you are always seven and a half minutes early for an appointment. When I left the military I adjusted this rule to read seven and a half minutes early for a professional appointment and seven and a half minutes late for a social appointment. I know of a couple who eats lunch at exactly 12 every day, we live our lives by the frequency generated by crystals embedded in electronic circuits and we do
The present is a moment just past.
And there is another one …. Gone. Do you know why we don’t remember stuff? Because we were not there when it happened. You, body-you were there, but mind-you wasn’t. Most of us are always either planning for something that might / is planned to happen, or thinking of something that has already happened, and that already narrow space of now we have, slips by, never to be relived. I have a little trick I’ve discovered that I’ll share with you. If you want to be in the moment become aware of your feet touching the ground, or your hands on the table or look into someone’s eyes – not glace, look! These are the three things I know about that connects you to your now, don’t ask me how, I just know it works.
Uhhhhgggggg!!! Low battery warning, what am I gonna do now? This might be a good time to go and sit with my bare feet in the garden and listen to the night – to be in the now, while you, somewhere in the great out there in time and space read my words and make our times connect. Now is not now anymore – or is it - because you touch my thoughts?
Gotta go – love you – NOW