The sundial in my herb garden reads “around 11” in this photo I took the other day. The time it reads depends on how careful I was at orienting the gnomon properly. I suppose it could be more precise if I took my computer out and rotated the stand until the dial read exactly what the computer said – starting with the day of the week, the date, the hour, the minutes…..hmmmm….at least until the next rainstorm when the dial tips slightly in the rain.
Part of the pleasure of the structure of my “new life” is that time has because amorphous. Days of the week are important because Saturday is the start of the weekend when my husband is home and Sunday is the day before he goes back to work. Dates are important sometimes. I have a paper calendar with wild animals on it that hangs in the kitchen. I write down my doctor’s appointments, the day that some chore needs to be done, or dates with friends. The hours on the days that I have marked are often important because doctors still follow their watches (although the guys who come to fix the furnace are not so prompt).
The rest of the time and days and weeks? It’s not about time anymore. These days, it’s about what I want to get done and who I want to see. It is important that I finish picking the garden in the morning before it gets too hot. It is more pleasurable to eat lunch when the shade from the trees out front hits the table and chairs in the yard. The mail comes sometime after lunch so my walk to the mailbox is in the afternoon.
The sundial works perfectly for my new sense of time. It is morning or afternoon or hmmmm…. S should be home from work soon or I wonder if the mail is here yet. Time is much bigger and less precise. It is harder to be on time and it is easier to get lost in time. As the shadow moves around the dial, lengthening as the afternoon wears on, my days are filled with the experience of the day and not the marking of time.