Monday, February 05, 2007


(This work is a result of a monthly assignment where members were asked to write a short piece using the word "Christmas".)

I was five when we moved to the farm after the war.

How would Santa know we’d moved? Would he find me in the country?

My parents told me not to worry, he knows where every boy and girl lives.

How does Santa travel in the bush? We didn’t have a proper road at that time.

Don’t worry, he has a horse and cart like the rabbiter.

Christmas morning. A pillowcaseful of goodies.

The hay and oats had gone, and Yes! There were tracks in the gravel drive.

Next year there was a thunderstorm on Christmas eve.

Jan Lowing
Writers’ Group, Clifton.


(This work was from a monthly assignment where members were asked to write something on the topic of "Time".)

Time. It means such different things to different people at different times!

To a baby, each minute can bring a brand new experience. Everything is new, puzzling, a source of constant wonder. Time is immaterial. For those early years, but not for long, time is meaningless. A series of simple things, feeding, sleeping, crying. Before long, rolling around, crawling, standing up. Walking. All in a few short months. Then soon time will take shape into days. Pre school days, weekends, birthdays, Christmas day. Parents will talk about days that have passed, or how many days until something special happens. In only a few years, time develops dimensions for a child. Past, present, future.

For the mother, her child is learning, changing, altering from one day to the next. Subtle changes, but she will never revisit the previous day’s wonder of something done for the first time. The first smile. A fleeting moment when she caught an expression that reminded her of a long dead relative. The baby seems to be trying out the genetic choices before settling on what it will look like, after more time has passed. Babies learn so quickly in their first year, grow so much, develop so many skills. Never again will so much be packed into such a short time. The mother learns to live in a special dimension of time too. How long the child will sleep, how long she has to catch up on the housework, how long she can shop before the wails of boredom, thirst or discomfort force a halt.

How many mothers put aside that period of time until all their children start school? Very few, in these modern times. Most young mothers work to help out with paying for the material comforts they have come to expect as essential. Their time is never their own, and they have very little time with their husbands to relax and enjoy each other. They have to pack a whole day’s housework and childcare into a few hours. Not so long ago, they could have taken their time to enjoy these few years when their children are young. Would life in a past time be more or less rewarding? A smaller house, less money to spend, but no large debts to worry about either. Not so much time spent caring for a big house and garden, more time to go on a picnic or camping trip, or just play with the children.

Retirees seem to have plenty of time, but they constantly ask ‘Where’s the year gone? Hasn’t it flown?’ Maybe they’re thinking of the dwindling number they have left to enjoy on this amazing earth. Many certainly seem set on seeing as much of it as they can. But how many really absorb and delight in the wonders they see every day? How many travellers spend time looking at maps when they could be looking out the car window instead. Or see everything through a camera lens instead of soaking it up through the senses.

Very old people have yet another sense of time. They have plenty of time to think about the people they’ve known, now gone, and places and events where they’ve been especially happy. Times past. They have plenty of time to enjoy their families now, but unfortunately the younger ones have very little time to spare for them. What a pity. They could hear about those interesting, long-gone times and learn where they fit into the greater scheme of things. Their own place in time.