Time and occupational therapy

Autumn is a point of change. A transition from green to gold. Certain things happen in Autumn; they are the same each year. Thoreau said that 'Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in.' I think that as occupational therapists we need to remember to consider how important time is, and how it is the grounded substance that we all function within.

Things look different when you see the time that they are occuring within.

Today, as I was driving through the winding backroads of the rural countryside on my way to home visits, the world was rotating through time.

Of course it rotates every day, but today the rotation was palpable. I noticed a school bus in back of me and two young children holding purple flowers on the side of the road, peeking around the hedges to see if the bus was coming. It was something that had happened a thousand times before - not just by these children today but by their parents before them. And their children will do the same. They will be running out of front doors, scurrying through the yard and picking flowers while their siblings search for the bus. As I watched I felt the rotations and repetition, but whizzing by in my car, it only lasted a moment.

Then I drove by some construction workers and two men were having a discussion. As one man finished what he had to say he turned and walked away, leaving the other man standing there. It was clear that he did not get what he wanted or needed from the conversation. It seemed apparent that this has happened to him all of his life; you could see it in the amount of time he stood there after the conversation. My car sped past him like another lost opportunity.

I had to slow down through a school zone and I watched some young children playing on the playground before the bell called them into class. Bells have been calling students into classes since there were schoolhouses. Children have always been playing outside wishing that the moments remaining would stretch into a warm afternoon. Adults tell them that their childhood will pass quickly but it is never necessary to tell them because they already know, even if they can't verbalize it. I saw silver cords tethering the children to the earth, and someday those cords will pull them back home.

These are things I noticed while I was driving this morning.


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