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Watching time stop while the sun shines

Have you ever felt like you were walking into a time warp?

At 3.30 this afternoon, I began my descent down M Hill. As I walked down, I saw the valley with the town centre and A Hill leading up from it, on the other side, bathed in golden sunlight. It was a bright afternoon. Blue skies, fluffy white clouds, a pleasant breeze… it could have been the height of summer.

A lot of life is just an illusion and as I walked down M Hill with my sights set on our house on A Hill, I had this feeling of time standing stock still. With each step I took, I got closer to the sunlight. Halfway down M Hill, my fingers had already gone cold, even through my gloves and my ears, as always, were the first to go numb. It was cold, yet looking at that glorious sunlight kept me going. It would get warm, I kept telling myself.

Fifteen minutes later, I had crossed the valley, passed through the town centre where shops were starting to prepare to shut down and had begun my climb up A Hill towards home. I was walking in the same sunlight that I had seen earlier on from the other side. But this was the bizzare bit. I couldn’t feel it. The rays were touching me. I could see the light glinting off my handbag, but there was no warmth in it, no dum.

It’s a weird feeling to expect to be warmed by sunlight, yet stay frozen. The psychological impact it has on you though, is tremendous. A little sunshine (our first in about eight days) can boost your spirits, make you smile, keep you cheerful.

And just for all those reasons, I hope the forecast for the weekend stays sunny. I’ll not be fooled by the apparent warmth, but stay bundled up as if it were snowing. With 2 and 3 degree temperatures, well, we’re almost there.

Talking about time standing still, remember that scene from Notting Hill where Hugh Grant gets on with his life after Julia Roberts dumps him the first time and he spends a year getting over her? The transition is depicted as Grant walks through Notting Hill market and the seasons change as he walks by. The song ” Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone” plays in the background…

Well, on some mornings (mornings only), when I walk down A hill towards the town centre to take my bus up M Hill, I feel that way. For the past seven months or so, I have left home at the same time and it’s like being in one of those music videos where one person stands still and everything around him goes super fast. Know what I mean?

As I walk down, I pass the same woman every morning on the other side of the road. She shuffles up every morning – I think she works at the church. A little further down, there is a Asian man outside the dentist taking a smoking break. Everyday. At the same time. Without change.

A few feet on, the row of estate agent windows gleam with their displays and the same people are at their same desks. The only difference is that their dress changes depending on the season, especially the women. I pass by the letting agents that gave us our house and I see the girl who first brought us here to show the house. As the seasons change, her clothes become warmer, her hair changes from streaks of blond to plum. That’s the only thing that changes. She sits at the same desk, every day, doing the same thing.

I didn’t really have this sense of disconnection in India , perhaps because the seasons don’t change so dramatically. It could be me in the background in that song, walking down, doing the same thing, as the sun shines, then doesn’t, as the leaves fall in droves and then through snow, rain and then sunshine again.

Make any sense?


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