Column: Time and space take on new meaning amid pandemic

Column: Time and space take on new meaning amid pandemic

Opening Our Eyes by Nan Dickie

These days, time and space don’t mean the same as they did a short two months ago.

In fact, many aspects of our lives have taken on new meaning, and this makes our heads spin.

Time has taken on several new qualities during this pandemic.

Many people may find they have too much time on their very clean hands these days.

Some of us have, by now, have run out of new ideas of how to fill all those hours in solitude.

Time seems to go in slow motion. Each day seems much longer than two months ago, as we fill our time with things that may be very different than our norm.

We have more than enough time to take things in stride. We have had enough time to settle into a new pace and rhythm that may be way out of sync with how we used to do things.

There’s certainly no reason to multi-task these days.

Some people are trying to rush through this pandemic, to get to the other side of it. This is understandable. Sadly, we cannot speed up time. We have to live inside it as it is, all the time.

One wonderful feature of time these days is that it is spring time, which expands greatly what we are able to do with each day, with early sunrises and longer evenings.

Space has seemed to both contract and expand during the pandemic. Suddenly, our homes may seem smaller than before, with many of them cramped with family members 24/7. Students are returning from university; young people are having to move home because their jobs evaporated almost overnight; a cousin has been stranded in our home because she has been unable to return to her home country.

There’s definitely a shortage of elbow room in our homes.

We go outdoors. Downtown streets are quiet, stores are shut down. It feels very eerie. Parks are empty, play areas are wrapped in yellow tape, picnic tables unoccupied. One can feel deep sadness while roaming downtown, looking at all the “Closed” signs, wondering when we might be able to go out for a meal, get our hair cut, take books out of the library, have our teeth cleaned. We walk down deserted streets in pairs, one of us on the sidewalk, the other safely on the roadside. The streets seem lonely for cars and foot traffic. And sometimes we are lonely, because we are more frequently spending time by ourselves.

Time and space have now taken on new, unusual dimensions, and we must adapt to them.

This is a stretch for many of us, but somehow we are managing.

Nan Dickie is a local author, speaker and former facilitator of a depression support group in Salmon Arm.

mental healthSalmon Arm

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