The same night sky that drapes over me tonight is a familiar blanket. I swathed myself in it as a child as it bundled me off to magical lands of trolls and cloud-lands. The stars meet my eyes in the same familiar glisten and the sounds of the dark echo to the same sounds of invisible, beautiful night creatures all around.
But as a child, the magic was in the light too. Under the rays of the sun, I taught gnomes English and I wrote fairy notes. Daylight shone a torch into many a book into which I travelled, through the light and the dark on each page, to emerge breathless and renewed by the words ‘The End’. Sunsets saw me traverse over to happy hills to visit Strawberry Shortcake or build farms with lions and hippos in the fields.
You see, the magic ingredient as a child is simple. The wand is time and it was the greatest gift of a childhood away from the western world. My spirit nestled into the arms of imagination for hours, weaving my simple existence in a bedroom into fantasy lands and unfurling narratives. Countless breaths carried me into flight above clouds and into treasures in mud. I had all the time in the world to speak to animals and wait for their answer. And I loved every indulgent second of it.
Somewhere along the line, I was taught, along with all of you, that time was best spent on the constructive. Things constructive generally contribute something tangible into the world, or at least symbols that represent something material banked elsewhere. Somewhere along the line, action transcended narration and corporeal overrode the ephemeral. And somewhere, the magic whispered its way out of the tendrils of our mind and kissed silent goodbyes to our fingertips.
In response to the faith that time is precious, we have tried to pack it with things into which we imbue arbitrary relevance to our lives. We carry signs of success, transport in signs of success, ingest signs of success, all infused with a sense of bring this minute, this moment, into more weighty and permanent significance. We seek out happiness, we farm out health and we exult in material comfort.
But perhaps the way to best celebrate time is in the things in which we feel timeless, through which we momentarily transcend that which we use to dictate the rhythms of our days. Perhaps those moments when age and date matter not as they are overridden by connection and a sense of whole is what makes time so much more valuable and brings the magic back to us.
These days I take time to talk to the animals again and to see the clouds make creatures and constructions alike. I wrench my mind from the ticking minute hand when I can and there is peace and bliss, waiting for me once more. And it’s walking this tension between appreciating the momentum of time and escaping its grasp once in a while that builds my castle here and in the sky.