Stretching time

Diana windmill sunset (9)

Brill, Buckinghamshire

I’ve just finished a first pass at putting some kind of searchable order into the thousands of photographs I have collected over the past couple of years. Now, I may not be able to type in ‘sparrow’ or ‘landscape’ and get all the results, but it is a start if I have them labelled individually at all. Up to now it has mainly relied on memory.

Dragon Hill, Uffington

Dragon Hill, Uffington

It has been amazing to look at how many places I have visited, alone or with friends, revisiting them in memory; or, more often than not, on School business or with Stuart, delving into the landscape for the books. Looking at the sheer volume of churches, ancient sites, hills and rock strewn valleys you could be tempted to think we were able to spend all our time ‘playing out’. Not so. We have jobs (writers can only starve in garrets for so long, you know) and other commitments so most of these trips take no more than a weekend, some less , just an odd day, yet somehow I have amassed a huge library of pictures over the past year or two, from an incredible number of places, the length and breadth of the land.

Avebury, Wiltshire

Avebury, Wiltshire

It has become a standing joke that I never move without a camera and a spare, and it is true that I take a lot of pictures to document our visits… you never know when you will need that picture, after all, but I don’t sacrifice just being with the moment for the sake of an image. Yet given the time available to us, we do seem to cram a lot into a little. You would think we rush around at top speed. Again, not so. We spend a fair amount of time just sitting for a start… and it is thirsty work this investigating, so the odd pub or two en route is called for… and you do have to just sit and assimilate occasionally. We walk a fair bit too…usually up hills, and especially in searing heat or torrential rain for some unfathomable reason.

Ivinghoe Beacon

Ivinghoe Beacon

But even so, the time in the landscape seems to bear no relation to the time we actually have. Reports of a weekend can be crammed into a week’s worth of posts… but only just, and only by missing out great swathes of experience and simply writing about the trip itself, leaving out all the other levels… the thoughts and conversations, the feel of a place, the connections that are made in mind and heart.

Cadbury Churchyard

Cadbury Churchyard

In some respects the days go so fast, like deep breaths of clean air between the long, underwater swim through the treacle of the mundane world…oases if colour within the grey desert of mediocrity. Yet, like a dream, it seems you can almost live a lifetime in a day, returning with a storehouse of energy and imagery that carries you through the humdrum plodding of everyday life. The mind and senses are fertilised and the time between these excursions becomes rich with questions, inspiration and possibilities.

Avebury, Wiltshire

Avebury, Wiltshire

It is a kind of magic. An alchemy that, once tasted, spills over into other areas of being and brings the world to life, even in the small things of normal living. It seems as if we are outside of time sometimes, normal rules don’t apply. I can only think that it has to do with a particular mindset… we accept the gifts of the day rather than seeking to wring out of it everything we can. Somehow we move through the hours at a leisurely pace… the speed of a canal barge… and yet see more in a day that seems humanly possible when you look back.


Wild poppies, Buckinghamshire

 Do you know that at this very moment you are surrounded by eternity? And do you know that you can use that eternity, if you so desire?
   There! Eternity is there! All around! Do you know that you can extend yourself forever in any of the directions I have pointed to? Do you know that one moment can be eternity? This is not a riddle; it’s a fact, but only if you mount that moment and use it to take the totality of yourself forever in any direction.Carlos Castenada

Sunset, Wayland's Smithy

Sunset, Wayland’s Smithy

Perhaps we are outside of time… moving for once to the rhythm  of the earth, rather than the speed of busy ants upon her surface and perhaps, when you are given those moments, where there is nothing between you and the earth and and the sky, time itself dissolves, allowing the Old Ones to walk once more as shadows on the screen of the mind, and a future unborn to pulse with a  possibility that is now. Into such fertile moments the seeds of inspiration are planted and from them any imaginable possibility may grow. You just have to take it on trust and flow with the moment… and perhaps it is here we find eternity waiting.

sheffield book weekend 450

Dawn over Derbyshire

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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12 Responses to Stretching time

  1. Your photography is breath-taking. ❤


  2. jenanita01 says:

    Lovely photographs, Sue, of all the places I visited in my youth, good to see them all again!


  3. Adrian Lewis says:

    Sue, I love the Cadbury churchyard shot – lovely tree architecture, and what a fine male Chaffinch! And your final photo here is very atmospheric and beautiful. Adrian


    • Sue Vincent says:

      He was spledid, Adrian, and so inquisitive too!

      That last shot was on the moors above Sheffield very early one morning. It is one of my favourite shots of the thousands… and almost, though not quite, captures the beauty and magic of the morning.


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