On Losing Time

On losing time

In my working years, I was constantly aware of the clock. I measured my life in 15 minute, 30 minute, and 60 minute intervals. This metering not only happened in my work life, but also in my home life. My time was so limited that it became an impossible resource that had to be tamed in any way.

One of the great benefits of being retired, is a relaxation of my temporal rules. However, I am still governed by the clock. There are activities that I do at certain times. There are people that I call and visit at certain times. There are tasks, like making dinner, that require a specific time. These rules aren’t bad; they provides the structure necessary to move forward in a societal life governed by such things.

However, when I am in nature, things change. Of course, I do pay a slight amount of attention to the clock. This is mostly so that I can interact with people that are not in nature. For instance, I may contact Julie or reach out to my children to see how they’re doing. I am not going to do this at two in the morning or at 11 o’clock at night. With that said, many other time constraints fade away for something that is much more natural. What’s more natural than time? Nature.

I tend to wake before dawn, that is my normal pattern. In nature, I tend to settle when the sun goes down. I feel less of a need to accomplish specific goals. Of course, I need to take care of housekeeping issues in the van. but there are many things that don’t require immediate attention. It is very freeing to have a life that cycles with nature rather than some artificial societal construct. It is wonderful to feel that you are in sync with nature. Being in nature also affects my conservation. Let me explain.

We live in a society that provides us with necessary services. We turn on a water tap or flip a light switch and we expect an endless supply of whatever we’re using. When we need to go to the bathroom, we don’t worry about where our bodily waste ends up. if it’s hot outside or too cold, it’s very simple to turn a knob or press a button to achieve perfect climate control. That is modern society, but it’s not necessarily good for us.

When I am more in touch with nature, I am also more respectful of the resources that nature gives me. I am acutely aware of how much water I use. I am acutely aware of how much power I draw from my solar batteries. I am acutely aware of the weather conditions. Instead of trying to control my environment, I try to modulate it enough so that it is acceptable as opposed to perfect. Fans take the place of air conditioning. Blankets and coats take the place of central heating. I do have a heater, but I use it very judiciously because it cost both battery power and gasoline to operate. I am very aware of how much garbage I produce and I deliberately use the least amount of consumables possible. Not only for the sake of the environment, but also for the sake of myself. I don’t want bags of garbage cluttering up my van.

I think that what I am saying is that it is possible that the way that we have achieved our gains in society may have been at the cost of both the individual, and the environment. When we have been given more, we have tended to use it recklessly. These habits may have benefited us in the short run, but they certainly harm us in the long run. Just something to think about. Have a good day. – Mike.