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Time to Get Back to Keeping Time Again

November 20th, 2021 by Michael Dyet

Hmmm, is how we keep our time a privilege or a right?

We are now just over a month away from Christmas. But it hardly seems possible. The warm and wet September and October here delayed the usual signs of the passage of the seasons. We did not see fall colours until late October. The peak fall colours did not happen until early November. And even now, many of the trees are still stubbornly holding onto their leaves.

At a time when we expect to start hearing snow blowers, the whine of leaf blowers still reach our ears most days. But I contend that is not the main reason we feel out of step

In philosophical terms, time is an artificial construct. Albert Einstein once said that The only real reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once. We need to be able to situate ourselves in time so our brain has a frame of reference.

But the way we measure or conceive of time has changed during the pandemic. As we were stuck in successive lockdowns and stay at home orders, it felt like time had stopped. We felt like Bill Murray living Groundhog Day over and over – except in our case it was COVID Day.

In those moments when we were able to latch onto a sense of time, it was pandemic timelines that defined it. We got stuck measuring time in waves: the first wave, the second wave, the third wave and now the fourth wave. We also fixed on the regulated stages of reopening which marked the progression of time in frustrating stops and starts.

Am I the only one who has to concentrate to remember which day of the week it is? I am pretty certain I am in good company in this respect. On more than a few occasions, I panicked because I saw a meeting in my work calendar for which I had not fully prepared. A moment later, I realized it was Tuesday, not Wednesday, so I had no reason to panic.

And yes, I will confess there were a few occasions when I clicked on the Microsoft Teams meeting link and sat there cursing everyone else who was late joining – only to realize that I was 24 hours early.

Over the past 18 months, we have spent much of our time biding time as we waited for those in authority to give us permission to start living again. The calendar became less authoritative than the bulletins issued by Medical Officers of Health which all too often said in essence: Not yet, and we’re not sure when it will be time yet.

We stopped keeping track of time because it did not have much meaning. But time did not stop. We just wasted the time we had waiting to be told we could start living again. Benjamin Franklin warned us that Lost time is never found again. We should have heeded his advice.

I rather like the metaphor that time is a flowing river. Like water flowing under the bridge, once it’s gone, it’s gone. We cannot get it back. It’s time we that we dive back into the river and get back to keeping time.

We should not have let ourselves be told that doing so is a privilege rather than a right.

~ Now Available Online from Amazon, Chapters Indigo or Barnes & Noble: Hunting Muskie, Rites of Passage – Stories by Michael Robert Dyet

~ Michael Robert Dyet is also the author of Until the Deep Water Stills – An Internet-enhanced Novel which was a double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michael’s website at or the novel online companion at

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