Most of my life people have treated me very kindly. I think I am treated a little like a foreigner towards whom kind people naturally feel considerate. It doesn't seem to matter where I am, in this country or abroad. I always seem to be from somewhere else.
This afternoon Ember shed her light on us again with a new greeting from an older time. "One of the oldest English greetings, from which come the greeting "Hello!" and "Hallo!" is the phrase: "Wes hal!" It means 'Be thou whole'."
Be thou whole. I can hardly think of a more beautiful greeting, or anything I would sooner wish for anyone. It is lovely to think that is what we are really saying when we say hello. If I greeted people on our walks with a smiling "Be thou whole!" or even "Wes hal!" I could hardly be received with more kindly curiosity than I am now. Thank you Ember.
Tonight I am greeted by a very interesting question, "I'm hearing from you that time cannot exist OUTSIDE of place because the only opportunity we have in which to experience time is right where we are, and that to truly experience the present moment one needs to be anchored in the body which is the primary place of beingness/sensory awareness... The BODY is the primary experiencer of time and not the mind, so the body is an inseparable 'part' of place, and when place is experienced, time is experienced as well?"
Be thou whole Pam! I have read your question over and want to try to answer it as well as I can, begging your pardon first that I am a foreigner to some of these ideas.
The experience of ordinary time to me has always been a source of suffering. When I find myself caught outside the enclosure of what I call "Place" I feel trapped, like I cannot breathe. There is never "room" enough in such time to me. How strange—answering your question makes me see it for the first time—I feel trapped when I am outside of "Place," as another might feel trapped inside.
In "Place" I experience time very differently. In some ways it makes more sense to say that in Place I simply do not experience time. My word for it is "timeless time." It is not as if day does not pass into night, or summer into winter. But in the bounded space of Place time seems to forever circle round upon itself without breaking free and running wild.
This is the time of the woods. I think a great many people experience the same thing in nature. Perhaps that is what Laurel and her husband go to seek in beautiful Vermont. You can almost see the difference in the eyes of those you meet in the woods—a reflection of the ancient of days.
The very great difficulty seems to be maintaining this older day in the midst of modern life. It is what I first glimpsed at the heart of the ancient cities of Europe. The heart of Paris in spring had that quality. Salzburg in winter. Burgundy at harvest time. It is what my husband achieved for me at last in Innermost House.
So in a way I am only aware of time when I am out of Place. Then time seems to blow through the landscape and literally make me restless, like the "ill winds" called the Santa Ana's in Southern California where I grew up. To me the Santa Ana winds are bearers of a dry desert sickness and hot weather wildfire.
Such time seems to do something to places. It is really what set us on our search for Place. Most modern landscapes of suburb or city feel to me as if an ill wind had blown all the life out of them. I cannot perfectly explain this, but to me it is a landscape of suffering. I do not mean that the people in it seem to be suffering. Mostly they seem not to be. It is as if the landscape itself were suffering.
But I have learned to take shelter, and shelter is always to be found or made. In the enclosure of nature. Within the walls of ancient towns. In an old beloved house. Around a fire. In a room conceived for the purpose. In the corner of a room.
If it is the body that is the "primary experiencer of time"—and I almost think I know what you mean—then to me it is when the body of Place encloses time inwardly that I am at rest. That is what I call timeless time. Then in my whole body of experience I am at peace.
Tomorrow I want to talk about some of the ways we have taken shelter and found, even in the midst of the modern world, sanctuaries of timeless time.