I’d planned to do something different today, but then this cropped up in my Timehop feed:
They say that memory loss is a sign of advancing years, and I had absolutely no idea why I’d saved these lyrics. And I’m only 62! A little digging gave me the answer: although I didn’t quote the lyrics I did include a video of the song in a post about the concept of time.
Prompted by this, I went onto YouTube – other video streaming sites are available 🙂 – and found this:
Even 40 years or so since I first heard that, I’m still bewitched by the sheer beauty of Sandy Denny’s voice, coupled with the prescience of lyrics she wrote at such a young age. There have been many cover versions since then, which in some ways have devalued the song, but I’d credit Kate Rusby and Judy Collins as valiant efforts – the original has never been bettered, though!
Replaying this has made me really think about the lyrics. The constancy of nature and its regenerating seasons is used as a metaphor for human life and love. “I will still be here, I have no thought of leaving, I do not count the time” is a perfect statement of the best way to live life: for the now. We cannot change our past and we cannot predict our future. But try doing what I did: I thought back to this time last year, when I wrote my earlier post, and pondered how my life has changed since then.
Had it changed at all? Had it happened as I was expecting? Should I, could I, have done anything differently? Perhaps but, as I just said, we can’t change our past. However, we can learn from it: indeed it is important that we do. Like all of us I’m far from infallible and have made mistakes. In my past year my health has fluctuated, but I’ve taken steps to do something about it. I’ve committed myself to taking up some new things in my life. And some friendships have been lost, but new ones have been gained. For me, the important thing is to be true to yourself, and I’d like to think that I always do that. Honesty – with yourself as much as with others – is important, whatever others may think of you for it.
Time is a reference for all of this. It enables us to pinpoint moments, and to use them as markers. But go back to the title: who does ever know where the time goes, yet we use that phrase so often. If that tells you nothing else, it should be saying to you that you shouldn’t put off doing things you are thinking about. There may come a time when it is too late for them, and using time as a reference point for regret is something we should never do to ourselves.