The summer arrived this weekend as far as we are concerned as the swifts are back, complete with full on screeching and unmistakable sickle shaped silhouettes streaking across the skies. Some people talk of swallows heralding the summer but for us, while they are certain a welcome site, they like the martins, arrive a little earlier and it is the swifts that come back last to enjoy what we laughably call a summer. I do not have high hopes for a good one this year. It seems to have been quite a dry spring so I am expecting perpetual rain through the summer months, but let’s see.
The swift boys being back in town though made me think about the signals and rituals people have to measure the passage of time. Because they keep coming around at a terrifyingly fast rate it seems. I have lost count of the number of times people have commented on ‘it’s not that time again, already!?’ and the expression of disbelief that time is flying. I’ve discussed before how it is most likely a perception based on the way your life is going through that period of time and what you are really focused on at any point which warps the view of how fast time is passing. For example, recently I have realised just how difficult it is to answer the question ‘how are you guys, then?’ when we meet friends that we may not have seen for a while. I do not really want to use the cop outs of ‘fine’ or ‘well, enough’ but frankly most times I do not have much else to say. At the moment are lives are, well, being lived. Mostly they are devoid of drama and concerns are mostly about how to fix the leaking tap, and whether the war against the ground elder is one that can be won. It is quite amazing how busy you can feel while not apparently achieving very much or undergoing any major life changes. Let us be clear, I am not after drama – we all know that in the next moment something could happen that make us wish for the simpler situation. But I feel now that while perhaps not in the prime of life, we are in second book of the trilogy of life, building on what was established in book one and before the endgame of book three. The early part of my life was marked by schooling, exams and First Times. Graduation, first job, moving out of home, first broken heart, finding the Lovely Wife, marriage, failing to have children and having to deal with that… It’s all pretty exciting stuff. But I have done all of that.
Looking forward now I see vague thoughts of retirement, getting more involved in volunteering for things that matter to me, enjoying the achievements of people I have known as children going through the kind of stuff that I did (but, hopefully, better). At the moment we are reasonably fit and healthy and long may that continue, but that will bring changes inevitably as we age.
But for the moment, most of the big changes have happened or are not on the immediate horizon. We are in good enough health to pretty much do what we like and have the time and resources to enjoy things like the theatre or go to gigs. We have a family schedule and it is booking now well into 2018 between work and social responsibilities. No wonder I feel time is flying. But I have come around to not worrying too much about that because I like busy and this is the time to enjoy life day to day as the ship sails on a reasonably steady course, as there are icebergs to come and we might be too busy steering to avoid them to live the frenetic but enjoyable life we are currently gifted with.
I think it is time for a nice cup of tea and a short break before attempting the next thing of the very long to do list.