When I was a kid, growing up in an Irish-Catholic enclave in Manchester, the year had a rhythm dictated by the church and the seasons. Seasons in England are movable feasts at the best of times, and in Manchester it tends to be warmer rain in summer, colder rain in winter, with two weeks of non-rain in spring and autumn if you are lucky.
Church every Sunday, then a family walk to the paper shop to pay for the week’s papers (and our comics), and maybe get a quarter of cola cubes or pear drops or a sherbet fountain. Easter and Christmas and Holy Communions and Confirmations with Baptisms and Weddings and Funerals interspersing the year. It was always moving forward to the pattern of the ages.
I spent hours in the garden watching birds, slugs, beetles, worms, caterpillars, tadpoles and my cat. I grew peas and beans and potatoes, and set fire to stuff in autumn, baking our potatoes and picking up a few burns, blisters and splinters along the way. A lot of time alone. A lot of time with friends. A lot of time to simply be.
As I’ve grown older, the years spiral down and take on a new rhythm. Children and terms and semesters drive one beat. Anniversaries of birthdays, weddings and deaths sound out another. And still there are the seasons, and still I want to be that kid who watches it grow and bloom and dry and decay and rest and grow again.
Ten minutes outside isn’t much, but without that time where would we be? We need to feel connected to world around us without the need of technology. It’s nearly summer, did you know? The irises and grapes are flowering, the peas are sprouting and time is marching on. Make sure you really do stop and smell the roses.
Winter is coming.