Thursday, 1 November 2018

Chronos, Kairos and the River

This photograph of Belgrade from the air is the last taken in October’s recent travels. The Sava and the Danube rivers meet here at Belgrade and it’s the Sava that the ‘river’ part of this blog is named after (the train is the one I took from Bled through Ljubljana

Dragons guard Ljubljana's bridges

The Ljubljanica flows through central Ljubljana

 and on eastwards across Slovenia, some years ago and I liked so much the way the train-track curved and wound along to follow the river’s course, to stay close to it).

Painting by Anton Karinger – Dolina Save (Bled iz Radovljice) The Sava River Valley (Bled from Radovljica) in Slovenia National Gallery, Ljubljana

Starting with the end as it were, of recent journeys makes me think of chronology and the time zone shifts I’ve been through recently (four, including the last, ‘clock-change’ as UK reverts to GMT); I’ve resisted this one, getting up as the darkness fades, determined to get as much light as possible and so not to grumble about ‘losing an hour of daylight’, a fiction of course, yet is felt, if one follows the dictatorship of the clock. Yes, I’m aware of the ‘real’ time (the one the world around me goes by) but I’m lucky enough to set my own hours for work and I can cope with a kind of parallel existence in two different times.

Today is All Saints’ Day and last night was marked by charmingly dressed and made-up children calling at the door, singing songs and reciting jokes, in return for sweets and oranges. But before the Christian era, this day marked one of the Quarter Days, an annual cycle based on seasonal rhythms and changes. But I’m happy enough for it to be named after the Saints, those semi-mythical figures who inhabit the liminal regions between earth life and post-corporeal life, who assist and intercede (it is said) for fully mortal beings like ourselves, from their greater vantage point, reached after we pass through the portal where we shed our physical bodies.

For some reason Hallowe’en focuses on the disturbing denizens of a spectral world, the ghoulish, restless, haunting possibly malefic otherworld beings. But I prefer to think of those ones who inspire and encourage us to relinquish fears of what comes after that particular portal, as well as emphasising the light (in the dark time of the year, some say, the inner non-material light shines all the brighter).

Image from the old Orthodox church (of the Holy Ghost) in Podgorica, Montenegro

And there’s another Time too, one that is different from the measurement of Chronos, the chronological ordering of events – there’s Kairos, the Time of significance, when you feel things fit into place, a kind of high point (we have to use metaphors of place and space to describe time!) of energy, that draws events towards it, because this is the place/time where things come together, giving a deeper sense of significance and meaning. It is also known as the Appointed Time and our perceptions of this have nothing to do with clocks, zones or mathematical measurements but rather, are ones of expansion. These experiences can come at any time in our lives, personal to us, they’ll provide areas of nexus or cohesion, nodal points around which our lives gather, forming an individual and unique pattern. Singular and unrepeatable. Our personal story, our individual looping labyrinth, which is both path – travelled in time and place – and one all-encompassing whole.

The labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral: Photo credit:

So today I feel accompanied by Kairos and perhaps there’s even a residual uplifting gleam from the saints. The cherry tree in the garden has lost almost all of its leaves, but the bright sunlight gleams on its silver and copper-red bark.


am said...

Today I feel accompanied by Kairos, too. Thank for giving me a context for what I have been feeling. Even though there is a heavy cloud cover, the November light here was perfect for a walk in the light rain this morning. Your travels near and far show me places I would not see otherwise. Thank you, Morelle.

Forest Dream Weaver said...

There's always something new to see ....if only we stay attentive. That's one scary looking dragon! Rxx

dritanje said...

am - so glad you enjoy travelling to these places. And that you feel the presence of this particular time of year as well.

dritanje said...

Forest Dream Weaver - that was a special day, I've been so busy with work, but suddenly I felt I just had to write that piece. And Ljubljiana's bridges have lots of dragons, fierce-looking maybe, but I feel they are guardians and give a strange sense of security. M xx