The Table of Hours: Recovering a Natural Rhythm

A period i'm deeply drawn to is prehistory (the sense of sacredness there was explored here and here, and also here and here, on the other blogs). It is in particular the Ice Age that draws, which according to some (and i'd agree, see here) is the period of the Book of Job. Something happens to a person when there is such a shake up so close to your time like that. Folks in the Ice Age, in the math of the great flood, seem to come down to essence, to the heart of things, to what is really important...its just all over their artifacts and artwork, a certian feeling. And its interesting that at times like this you dont see time speeding up but slowing down. There is no zoom path to essential things it seems, rather they must be approached with the speed of the heartbeat. Ever wonder...why?

I sure have. And it led to a library book about walking of all things, Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit, where this just jumped out:

The multiplication of technologies in the name of efficiency is actually eradicating free time by making it possible to maximize the time and place for production and minimize the unstructured travel time in between. New timesaving technologies make most workers more productive, not more free, in a world that seems to be accelerating around them. Too, the rhetoric of efficiency around these technologies suggests that what cannot be quantified cannot be valued--that that vast array of pleasures which fall into the catagory of doing nothing in particular, of wool gatthering, cloud-gazing, window shopping, are nothing but voids to be filled by something more definite, more productive, or faster paced. ...The indeterminancy of a ramble, on which much may be discovered, is being replaced by the determinate shortest distance to be traversed with all posible speed, as well as by the electronic transmissions that make real travel less necessary. As a member of the self employed whose time saved by technologoes can be lavished on day dreams and meanders, i know these things have their uses, and use them--a truck, a computer, a modem---myself, but i fear their false urgency, their call call to speed, their insistanceence that travel is less important than arrival. I like walking becuase it is slow, and i suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness.

A very similar thing was explored in the book Better Off by Eric Brende (qoute found
here at At a Hen's Pace):

Time moved more slowly but also...we had more of it...we were able to relax and read the way we were doing right now; in the absence of fast-paced gizmos, ringing phones, alarm clocks, television, radios, and cars, we could simply take our time. In being slower, time is more capacious. The event is only in the moment. By speeding through life with technology, you reduce what any given moment can hold. By slowing down, you expand it.

I see this image as "s p a c i o u s t i m e"...

The blog At A Hen's Pace itself speaks of this too in a sense in her sidebar qoutes...

Those seeking the life of the spirit should be cheerful and free, and not neglect recreation. Married people must act in conformity with their vocation--but their progress will of necessity be but the pace of a hen.--St Teresa of Avila

What does a hen do all day? Nothing but walk about in endless circles, pecking at this or that--yet she is one of the most creative and productive of God's creatures. Though my life mostly takes me in circles, I pray for the daily fruitfulness of a hen...--
from Jeanne of At a Hen's Pace

Mmmmm....spacious time.... and circular time (like
Small Meadow Press's Circle of Days). For more on circular time here is a qoute from interviews done of Athabascan elders about their traditions, from here. What some elders said (some of the translation is choppy i think):

They were wise about where to go. They had an elder in the camp that told them which way they should go. They never went just any old place. They know where to go. They know a lot of things that nowadays parents don't know. They use an Elder for the leader. Every time they get stuck they go to the Elder. That Elder he think and then he tell them, he know. All the decisions, the old people used to make the decisions. They got no books and no stuff to follow so they gotta follow the people that have experience.-- Geraldine Charlie

Well we talked already about fall, winter, and spring. Already we talked about that. And summertime. That's four corners of life, right there. I think it's important that the kids understand. They had certain things they do in these four seasons, four different in a year. And all these four seasons we used to go out. We used to know the country. And that's another important thing they used to teach young people about, the country. Every season they know where to move to get the kind of thing that will be around at that season. -- Neal Charlie

There is something here. Something anceint and something present. Something at the pace of a heartbeat.

Then the Inuit of course don't even have a word for time in their language. Like most ancient cultures they have lost much of their roots, but i think traditionally they lived soas they really were pretty "heartbeat" already in how they lived...hence no need for thoughts of time as something abstract. It was the Inuit (those in Inupiat), through her living among them, that inspired artist Claire Fejes , in a bigger way than most realize. From

This (the traditional Arctic) is my inspiration. I don’t feel like painting in New York or any other place. This is where I’m inspired by the people and the land. This is my inspiration here. It just comes pouring out of me when I’m here. When I’m any other place, I don’t even want to paint.

To me, that really says something. We are inspired to create when we are back in touch with the heartbeat...away from that the muse just fades, can't be forced really. We may all find the hearbeat in different ways and places, but we do need to find it.

Some more qoutes...

We think that easy and simple go hand-in-hand.

We have countless appliances that will do every task imaginable. We seek out the latest convenience foods so we can spend less time in the kitchen; we stream line so we can accomplish more and more each day. Not all of this is undesirable or without merit, but is this the answer to a simple life? ...

The satisfaction and joy we can get from so many homemaking tasks can easily be lost unless we intend in our hearts to live a simple life. But a simple life can take more time. If we can't slow down enough to enjoy some of the basic fundamentals of homemaking then perhaps we are missing some of the very things that make a simple life an enjoyable life...

Living a simple life may require changes to the way we live. I don't have a busy life outside my home. I have it this way on purpose. I am happiest when my life is simple and serene. ..~I am the most content when I live a life in my home, doing the things that make my home run smooth and giving my family a quality of life that is fulfilling.

I am also passing on to my children the value of a simple life by my example. If I am always busy, busy I fear I may end up teaching them the message of discontentment. The message states that I can only be happy and satisfied if I am going and doing all the time. I have learned over the years that the two ways of life just do not mix"--Crystal Miller from
Living a Simple Life

When I have time, laundry is enjoyable: hanging on the line, sorting, ironing, folding, done cheerfully, whistling a song. But when I'm in a hurry, laundry is a chore. Praying is a chore. Everything is a chore. That's very sad. --from Anna at Anna's Musings

We are designed i think to have the actual time to do things, time to process as we do, to go slow enough that just doing the things we are naturally supposed to doing will bring us calm and contentement. When we rush we think we are saving time but i think what we are actually doing is messing up the natural rhythms we are supposed to have and so losing contentment. As the first qoute pointed out, "i suspect that the mind, like the feet, works at about three miles an hour. If this is so, then modern life is moving faster than the speed of thought, or thoughtfulness." More and more, i find this longing growing to recover a deeper sense of time. Sacred time, like the liturgy of hours. Circular time, like the round of the seasons. Three mile an hour time, like the pace of a heartbeat...

(Image by
Claire Fejes)

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