After watching Life After Life, the TV adaptation of Kate Atkinson’s novel, I’ve been thinking about death and the circularity of time. I live in both the past and the future, as well as savouring the now.
I’m back in Wendover for a couple of weeks. This means no swimming, but instead there’s the cat and the woods. When I have a lunchtime nap in the garden, or stroke the purring cat, or run in the woods in the cool of morning and hear the animals, birds and trees, I feel very present. There’s such a distinct sense of now that all the times around these moments — when I cook, work, watch TV — are just padding and B-roll.
It’s during the padding time that the past and the future are more present. I think about my childhood, experiences and lovers of my life so far, but also of a past before I was alive: my parents’ youth, my grandparents’ youth, royal lineages, ancient journeys, technologies and discoveries. And I think about the future: the next few years in my job, the next few decades when I might move back to Sweden and move into old age, the time when my parents will die, and the time when I will die. And the time after that. What will happen to my pebble collections, my books, my writing. What will happen to the planet.
In the times between the nows, I live it all at once. In that way it’s never far away, and it’s not scary. It’s all a familiar part of life.