Time: human-made. Measured in hours and minutes.
Rather a strange construct in many ways when you think about it. So many of us live our lives ‘clock watching’. Defining our days and activities in accordance with the hours-and-minutes version of time. In my experience, this kind of human-made time often equals stress and pressure. A sense that we are always chasing after it, trying to stop it from running out, berating ourselves when we don’t achieve something in a given timeframe, or are late for an appointment. It feels rigid and demanding.
At this time of year in particular, ‘natural time’ is vividly apparent. The shifting seasons are heralded in autumn by a raucous display of colour and the scent of earthy recycling; the daylight, shorter in length – made painfully apparent when trying to wake in the mornings … forms wrenched from sleep, against the ancient wisdom of their natural ‘programming’, to face a still-slumbering sun and resultant darkness.
The commitment to our hours-and-minutes way of life has, in many ways, led to a disconnect with nature – that is: our own natural way of being, along with the gentle flows and meanderings of the natural world around us. ‘Natural time’ feels much softer somehow, much more harmonious than the jarring character of hours-and-minutes.
Our modern ignorance of ‘natural time’ has led to a blinkering of sight. We no longer see the subtle changes around us, the beauty of natural change, and conversely, the red-flags that have been waving for decades – highlighting systems and processes becoming progressively under strain, skewed and damaged. Our obsession with hours-and-minutes has resulted in tragic and alarming knock-on-effects to ‘natural time’.
Reconnecting with ‘natural time’, by letting the natural world dictate the rhythm of your days whenever possible, is a powerful way of reconnecting with natural systems; balanced living with humans’ natural cycles – that are inextricably intertwined with the rest of the natural world – helps to engender a sense of rootedness and place, nurturing an increased awareness, respect and connection with all of nature … and of course, the things that people feel connected to and bonded with, are the things that they are more willing to protect and conserve.