Musings on Time

Lately I have been thinking about time.. actually time is something I have always been instinctively aware of, but every now and again its transient nature catches up with me and I really wonder what it really is and why we even observe it.  Here are few of my musings, interspersed between various pictures of clocks! 

If I look at the facts, time at its most fundamental is a measurement that helps us to keep track of change. It arose from the movement of the earth around the sun, the set number of rotations that explained changes in weather patterns, the distribution of light and the passing of the seasons. By its very nature time’s behaviour is cyclical and its passage repetitive, serving as a constant force of predictability. Clocks reflect such stability, the minute hand revolving twenty four times a day, eight thousand seven hundred and sixty times a year, or the pendulum that swings back and forth with mathematical precision. Historically people used many different methods to tell the time, including astronomical clocks and sundials, such was the importance of accuracy in even the most primitive of societies. Knowledge of time grounded people by providing a structure in an otherwise chaotic existence, allowing them to understand and navigate the rhythm of the natural world around them.

Time is more than simply a practical measurement however, it is a multifaceted concept that can be thought of in a multitude of ways. Scientists and philosophers alike have long spoken of the arrow of time, its distinct directionality whereby the past is visibly different from its current state and there can be no repetition or journey back between the two. We see this juxtaposition most clearly in the people and landscapes around us. Where once there was a green pasture, now there is a bustling city.Where now there is an adult, once there was an inquisitive child. Mysteriously it always seems to slow down when you are waiting for something or someone, and speed up when you are keen to cling to the present.

I realized that time exists because it is a finite resource that represents change and development. Without this quality, it would simply be an indistinguishable force in an endless world.  We only have to examine the seasons to see that we need their contrast to remind us to be aware of time’s passage, and to look forward to each period’s unique character. 

What we do with time has become something of an obsession in our modern era. We give numbers to it, we quantify ourselves, and divide our moments into digestible chunks. I don’t necessarily believe this is a negative social construction. I believe that by quantifying time we have allowed ourselves to become more aware of its passing, to seize the moments and enjoy them in every way we can. As I near the end of my university career, the concept of time is one that resonates with me quite profoundly. This period has been a significant chapter in my life and is now coming to a close, a locked door that I will only be able to access through distant memories. This is not a new experience, after all in my twenty three years I have left behind many homes and closed several chapters along the way. It is only when I am aware each stage is nearing their end that I feel a sharp sense of nostalgia and appreciation for having lived it at all. For though it may not continue, I treasure it because I lived it, because they were rich experiences that I alone could describe from my own unique viewpoint. 

 I believe in appreciating the little things in life. Thinking about how each moment that passes cannot be grasped will induce depression, while instead learning to experience wonder while accepting their transience, is perhaps the greatest gift one can acquire. I have recently developed a newfound appreciation for the details in the fabric of everyday life, a laugh, a smile, the contrast between the colours in nature. I wanted to find a way to preserve such fleeting moments, and so I discovered photography.

I have never ceased to be amazed by our ability to capture a moment physically, either on film or in a photograph, or even at the most primitive levels through descriptive text and oral traditions. It's clear that even cave painters wanted to leave an indelible mark, portraying a moment they had seen, an idea for the future, or a glimpse into their present.  In much the same way now, it's apparent that we are all desperate to leave an imprint of ourselves on earth, a way of showing what we saw, and thus proof of our very existence. What I love about photography is that it can capture bursts of life, an atmosphere or a feeling. It is perhaps one of the strongest methods of allowing us to retain a connection to the past. If we can momentarily divorce ourselves from our modernity and consider how absurd it is to be able to view something in the future that happened in the past, it truly astounds the mind. We are fortunate to have such links to the past so that we may understand our world, and indeed ourselves better. 

Time is an element that unites all cultures and all places. Though we may start our days and weeks and years at different moments, it is no less kind or harsh to those from distant lands. Indeed time is something that connects us through a shared recognition of its profound influence on our lives. However different we believe we are, the happiness and sadness that its passage brings has touched all of us in one way or another. 

  I believe it is the relationships we cultivate that highlight time in the most profound way. We see their transition clearer than our own, our transition reflected in their faces. To place value on whom we share this resource with is a strong investment, for there is nothing greater than shared experience. 

Only once you have known loss, may you scrutinize time more intently. It might be the loss of an atmosphere, a state of mind, a fleeting moment, an object or sharply, the loss of a person. We mourn these passings, and we celebrate new life. We marvel at the ability for something to suddenly exist and then disappear, for something to appear when there was nothing there before. We create and we destroy, we alter and we develop. 

I do not understand why some of us have more time than others, or why our hearts beat until they suddenly become silent. I do know that time is indeed a gift, a finite property that is perhaps the most malleable element in existence. Time is both a blessing and a curse, ultimately it is all about how we choose to view it and how we decide to spend it that really counts. Make of it what you will, for it is your canvas alone to paint. 


  1. Oh my goodness, how interesting! I sometimes think about time and imagine if all the measurements were different, like the concept of the "second" hurts my brain!

    I agree in making the most of it, the woman in my Calm app says to take the time to be aware of yourself in the present which I appreciate as I spend too much time in either the future or the past! x

    1. I think we should measure it in heartbeats! I love that you have a calm app, that is so cute!
      It really is so important to be self aware and to take a moment to consider our present good fortune.. whenever I find myself getting annoyed at silly things, I try to remember that I'm alive and there is a bigger picture and this crazy existence doesn't really last very long so I shouldn't waste it on things that don't matter. x

  2. Beautifully introspective in a strange way - I don't know if that makes sense, but I love what this whole article shows about your personality.

    1. Thank you! I was coming out of a long day of work when I read your comment and it really made me happy :) Your blog is beautiful btw! x

  3. lovely :)

  4. Cool photos!!!!


  5. Thanks Susana! (My flatmates were very patient.. I pretty much asked them to pose with their clocks all evening!) x

  6. such beautiful shots!

  7. Such fascinating musings on the nature and significance of time. Your point about the impact of loss on our response to time is very reflective too.
    I like to think of time as something I 'spend well', as it is indeed, (as you say), a gift. I also wanted to say thank you for your very supportive and lovely comment on my h.club100 post.

  8. Lovin' all of your tick tock photos! Those clocks are awesome!!! WOWOWO! Gorgeous!
    xoThe Beckerman Girls