I remember the first time I really understood the length of a year. I was six; as old as Chotto-ma is now. And I remember thinking how impossibly long one year was, and how it shouldn't be called 'one' anything. It was trickery. A way of misleading children into thinking that it would pass as quickly as something with a 'one' before it should. But this wasn't like the one that came after zero. One year had three hundred and sixty five days hidden in it. Oh, just a year, grown-ups always say. But when you're six, it's three hundred and sixty five whole days. That's 525,600 minutes. Have you ever asked a child how long a minute is? It's very long.
And there I was yesterday, thinking like the grown-ups I didn't understand when I was six. I was thinking how fast this year has passed. And it made me think of how formless, how unquantifiable time is. How it shrinks with age, and stretches with youth. How the quantity of time depends on its quality - a good year rushes by, a difficult year drags without end.
It's a wily thing, a personal thing - time. The length of your minute is different from mine. Your hour, your year is only as long as you perceive it to be, not me, nor the clock or the calender. Have I told you about the clock in our house that doesn't tell time? It's on the wall next to our dining table. It's large, round. In fact, it's the main clock in our living room. It's always 11:26 on this clock; could be am or pm. I don't remember when it stopped, it's been a couple of years. It inadvertently tells the right time twice a day. I could pop a couple of batteries in, and the hands would tick to order. But I don't. I like it this way. I like that in this little corner, time doesn't exist.