A Sense of Time

A Sense of Time is a short story by Finnish writer Tove Jansson from her collection Art in Nature.

The book is full of beautiful and amusing stories which all allude to art in some way. A Sense of Time, my favourite from the collection, is about an old lady who has lost all sense of time. She lives with her grandson and brings him breakfast for dinner, tells him it’s bed time when he’s just woken up, and takes mid-morning strolls in the middle of the night. The conclusion is that her senility is a blessing — while her grandson lives in a state of anxiety, worrying about deadlines and trying to keep up with society’s expectations, the old lady lives a calm and stress-free life.

“Grandmother’s private, interior world must be very strong if she can so serenely deny the sun and the moon. I wonder what it is that shines for her that makes her so terribly certain and calm.”

art in nature

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