Here in the west we think of time as being laid out in a line, with a beginning and an end, but an older and more eastern view of time is that it’s circular. Think of a clock: when the hands reach twelve, time doesn’t stop or end but continues cycling round again and again. The end is the beginning, the beginning also the end. Life is a continual cycle of these endings and beginnings: the seasons, the days, the years, the tides, life, death. And it makes more sense to look at them as transformations from one thing to another, endlessly circling round. Winter doesn’t end one day and spring start the next – it happens in a merging of one season into another, the earth transforming itself again and again, year after year.
Circles are the stuff of life, not straight lines. Even space seems to be circular – if you were to keep walking in a straight line, you’d eventually end up back where you started. Maybe, if we were able to send a space ship into the universe and have it follow a straight line, it might also end up back where it started – we don’t know yet but it seems likely our universe is spherical. Our planets and stars and moons are round, and they circle round each other. Our bodies have circadian rhythms, and plants die and are absorbed into the earth only to decay and give life to new plants, and so the cycle goes on. Our experience of life is truly circular, as T S Eliot understood well:
'What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.'
This will be my last post as a Mortal Muse, and marks an ending but also a beginning. I’m sad to leave, but in the end lies new opportunity and a transforming of my life in another direction. And I hope to circle round again, doing some guest posts here, returning to the same familiar place but perhaps one that has seen some changes too, having been on its own cycle of change. (Each spring is both the same, and different.) I wish every success and happiness to my fellow muses and to you who read this blog; I hope the cycles of our lives will interlink in places and we’ll see each other again.
Elina's wonderful image gives us a real sense of the planet whirling round, and the rhythms and cycles of the clouds and the weather. My own photo reminds me of how small our worries and our selves are compared to the grand, universal, cycles of life. And, yes, I know it's sepia and not black and white but I never shoot in black and white, and as it's my final post I think I can get away with it :-)
gilly of the camera points both ways