During the dawn of 2020, it would have seemed very strange to announce that time was going to slow down to a snail’s pace by the summer; but as we lumber towards autumn — or The Fall — we’re over halfway through the year and it feels like time has nearly reached a standstill.
It’s not just ennui or the Groundhog Day effect, it’s also the fact that the lack of commute — or indeed any travel for many of us — means one less “bubble” to daydream in. As a consequence we’ve got a lot more “me time”, more than we could have possibly imagined at the beginning of the year, and probably a little bit more than we’re used to — or even comfortable with.
A pretty good way to fill time is reading, so it’s worth using these extra hours to pull out a few classics from the bookshelf, blow off the dust and immerse yourself in yesteryear. Try Thomas Hardy, a novelist so pilloried for being an ‘immoral‘ and pessimistic writer in his later life that he turned to poetry instead. In fairness, a careful reader will see plenty of poetry even in his earliest novels — and if there’s one thing we now have now that we haven’t had since Hardy’s time that’s the time for a slow, careful, ponderous reading of great literature that’s survived the centuries :
…stand on a hill at the small hour of the night…long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars.Thomas Hardy, from Far from the Madding Crowd
Cooking is a great way to while away the hours too. ‘Slow food’ has long been a jewel in the crown of foodies, but ‘slow reading’ may catch on too soon!
There’s much more time — and space — to shop and plenty of time to chop, which allows for all those healthy vegetable-based stews to migrate from the shelf where you’ve been stowing them away for the last fifteen years to the kitchen. If you include enough ginger, vinegars, garlic and chilli etc then almost anything will taste good — although based on recent experience perhaps not dandelion leaves from the park!
Don’t worry if it things don’t turn our quite as you imagined – it’s the new normal.
Have a great week and stay safe.