Just before Christmas we found ourselves poised for a moment on top of a beautiful Swiss mountain. The sun had burst from the sky and swept its warmth down over Lac Lucerne. There were few others around. It was a simple thing really, just a morning’s skiing, but it felt so indulgent because it was just the two of us and it was on a day when we should have been getting stuck into the daily routine of school, work and home life.
We came down off the hill, giddy from the sense of achievement. As we clipped the skis back onto the car and sipped a hot sweet tea from our flask, another driver pulled up waiting to squeeze into the space next to us. I smiled and kindly swept my arm to gesture to the great many other free spaces he could choose from in the car park. Calmly, serenely, the window of his rather stately car lowered and he said with a smooth Swiss accent “…ah but I would like this space…it is closer to the lift station!” “There is no rush” he went on…”I have all the time in the world. Time, is one of the most important things you can have in life!” We threw a secretive roll of the eyes to one another but accepted in a whisper… “…he’s right you know!” Here was this well-dressed, calm, never haughty Swiss man with beautiful skin proffering us advice about life, conducting himself with an air of confidence that can only come when you know you have something other people want.
Living in a country synonymous with good timekeeping I’ve come to manage mine much better. Each day I find myself yearning for a hot midday lunch, when offices empty punctually at 12 and sandwich shops and café’s fill up…or when the heating in our house (controlled by a decision maker elsewhere in the city) turns itself off promptly at 10pm…the house gets cold and I know it’s time when most Swiss people are turning in. Everything it seems centers around time and there is never enough of it! There is probably never a right time to start some long-intended project either, but of course plenty of time to procrastinate about it.
Today, King Cake is eaten to mark Epiphany, and those who are lucky enough to find the talisman hidden beneath the sweet sugary almond layers can be crowned King for the day. For me, I think it is time that is King…and we are simply its soldiers.