Precious Time

Several years ago when Jane and me first visited Lanzarote we fell in love with the island. We were staying at a place called Matagorda, between Playa Honda and Puerto De Carmen. Our daily routine involved walking from our chalet down to the promenade and then along it past the restaurants and shops.

On our last full day we were sad to be going home and couldn’t wait to get back to the island in the near future. I suggested to Jane that we stand together on a particular large manhole cover on the prom and promise ourselves that we would return to this spot every time we visited the island again in the future.

I suggested to Jane that the time between each standing on the manhole cover would actually appear much shorter than she could imagine. Well that seemed a ridiculous statement when there would be at least another six months to pass first.

She humoured me and duly stood with me, huddled together entirely within the bounds of this pretend time capsule. When we returned later in the year, we both returned to the magic time capsule and stood together. “See”,  I said to her, “time really does fly by quickly”.

This ritual started seven years ago and we still follow the routine of standing on the manhole cover and hoping, wishing to return back quickly soon. We’ve done this probably a dozen times since and every time it feels like only a moment ago that we last did it.

When my eldest daughter was only a toddler back in the late 80s I recall a conversation we were having in which she said to me that a year was a very long time. I told her that it wasn’t. I said to her, “Count to three and clap your hand once as loudly as you can and at the same time say aloud ‘NOW'”.

I said no more to her and we changed the conversation. Approximately twelve months later when I was at that very spot again with her I stopped and casually asked her to clap her hands and say NOW aloud. She did so, this time asking me why she had had to do it.

I then reminded her that she had done that a year ago at that very spot. She remembered. I said to her, “now can you see how time is actually very fast and how quickly that year had passed”. Recalling the first time she could not believe that it was a year in between claps.

As I’m writing this, I’m actually in Lanzarote enjoying a holiday in the sun. As you read this, that was probably many weeks, or months, or even years ago. Time moves very fast indeed. Jane and me were talking earlier about when we will be back here, probably in six months. We found ourselves thinking how long away that seems right now. We discussed all the jobs back at home that will be done in between. Bathroom regrouted, new floor laid in the lounge, new shed base built and new shed erected, sanctuary repainted. I will have probably driven another 50,000 miles in my job. Some close family may not be with us this side of life any more. So much will have changed in that short time between us next visiting this island.

We may not be able to control time. Nor are we able to dictate how much of it we have left. But we are able to enjoy each moment to its fullest. Yes of course life is mainly full of mundane chores, uncomfortable moments, tears and upset at times. But that is all the more reason to take time out now and then and enjoy the moment. The only moment we can guarantee is now – and then it has passed.    ♥

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