He does not try to pass the time.

Another paragraph from Out of Africa:

Natives dislike speed, as we dislike noise, it is to them, at the best, hard to bear. They are also on friendly terms with time, and the plan of beguiling it or killing it does not come into their heads. In fact the more time you can give them, the happier they are, and if you commission a Kikuyu to hold your horse while you make a visit, you can see by his face that he hopes you will be a long, long time about it. He does not try to pass the time then, but sits down and lives.

-Isak Dinesen


photo of Kenya from Internet

7 thoughts on “He does not try to pass the time.

  1. When I lived in Liberia, it took me some time to adapt to their custom of “spending time.” Every now and then, a person or group would appear at the door and say, “We have come to spend time.” You were to invite them in, and offer cold water. Then, they would sit. They were spending time. There was no expectation of conversation, although, of course, a few words might be exchanged. But it was just as acceptable to remain silent, smiling at one another.

    At some point (I never figured out how this was determined) someone would say, “Now we have spent time.” They all would get up, and leave.

    In the beginning, perplexed me would think, “What in the world was that about?” Later, I didn’t have such thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I do love that book and try to read it about once a year. I loved your quote. When my parents moved from here to Oklahoma, what shocked my Dad was people showed up to spend the day with you. They would sit on the porch and just visit. At first he didn’t understand, growing up and living in California. But after awhile he became accustomed to the peaceful and much slower life. He would get so agitated when we came as we were too busy. I think it would be nice to live that sort of peaceful uncluttered life. Thank you for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I printed this up yesterday, in between power outages, to take to M.’s mom. I started to leave you a message several times, but lost them to the flickering power. M.’s trip was cancelled due to east-west road flooding. I did read it to her last evening. It is such a good antidote to the sense she often has that there is nothing “to do.” We all need reminders to not get out of the habit of being.

    Liked by 1 person

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