Time is a strange construct – it depends on where we are and how
we relate to it. I could say that in France it moves more slowly, in
general, or perhaps equate its march to rural life, away from the
hustle and bustle of city deadlines. Or is it that “I haven’t worn a
watch for years?” If we don’t constantly monitor its passing, there
is only a vague outline, or idea of its operation. The sun is getting
higher, the shadows have changed; the light is brighter: here, this
is our ‘indicator’.
Hours pass in a flash when occupied outdoors, and it doesn’t matter,
for it is not a schedule that dictates, just intuition that creates a
framework. Completing something before it rains, or harvesting what is
ready at the right moment… nothing else matters in the flow of the cycle
where nature is the one in control. ‘Making hay while the sun shines’
applies, and equally, in all dealings must be remembered. For it is
impossible to apply a different standard and expect anything to adhere
to ‘normal’. In France there is a natural pause, as all grinds to a halt
in honour of food, and Sunday shopping is limited to ‘the market’
– for lunch of course. What could be more important than sharing in
the abundance of the season, and conversation, while time passes with
sips of wine, and slivers of cheese that stretch a repas into hours,
and then a siesta.
Administration follows the same routine – wait for a response and it may
never come – the only way is to ‘let go’ and release it in to the ether,
hoping that one day there will be a surprise. For somehow there always
is, it just doesn’t conform to ‘hurry or appointment’; there is a different
Roi who resides and reigns over the pace, and surrender is necessary.
The first adjustment when arriving is to relax, for to survive in this
environment there is only one rule: remain in the moment and enjoy the
pleasures of each day. The warmth of the sun, and what graces the table,
washed down with a smile, for in a twinkling, it is once again night
– “Where has the day gone?” we might well ask, “What has been achieved?”
The signs are hazy: contentedness, or a full belly; remembrance of birdsong;
or a new observation, life all the richer for contemplation.
Image: Cadran solaire. One that doesn’t help divine the hour, as perhaps
the terrace roof was added later?