How do you spend your time?
My late father fought a degenerative disease which saw him lose his memory. During the last eight years of his life, he began to forget everything – street directions, the day of the week and eventually his own family. One evening, my mother was preparing dinner when Rod Stewart’s 1971 hit track “Maggie May” – a favourite in the household at the time – began blaring over the record player in the living room. Dad stopped dead in his tracks looking at Mum ever so intently. He recognised her.
“I’m so sorry,” he began. “I didn’t realise that was you there.”
While he couldn’t recall the people in his life, music seemed to trigger something within his brain – some deep-set memory or feeling of familiarity – and for three minutes and 43 seconds, we had him back; funny, kind and the beautiful man we knew and loved.
But as soon as the music stopped, he’d be gone again.
Dad couldn’t remember the past – and he certainly didn’t have time, or the future ahead of him. All he had was the moment. When we would visit him in hospital, we had to be present – fully present – because no moment experienced was linked to the next. We only had the now to feel and see and listen and touch.
At GRAZIA, we’ve been thinking about the world’s relationship with time these past few months; how we spent it before it was suspended, how we valued it when our lives were threatened by the pandemic, and how we are now harnessing its new tempo after re-evaluating what is truly important to us.
I’ve seen a lot of parallels between the lessons I learnt from Dad’s disease and the lessons the pandemic has brought to life. We are all no doubt wiser for having trodden through COVID-19’s pathway, have discovered more about our ability to adapt and the love that we so richly feel beyond the boundaries of touch. Or in dad’s case, intellect.
The pages ahead are dedicated to our evolving relationship with time, and the journey that has been the past 12 months in this wayward world. For the first time, four of our main fashion shoots are linked to one single journey. Shot in the Emirati desert, one heroine plays warden to the world around her as she grapples with the elusive concept of time. The fashion series – presented in four sequences scattered throughout the issue – begins with “Crash Course”. “End Of The Road”, “Lost In The Mirage” and “The Sands Of Time” follow, capturing the different stages of emotion felt this past year.
You’ll also find a travel feature titled, “By The Window” in the issue. This past annum, we’ve been commissioning artists, painters and illustrators from different nooks across the world to paint a picture of the cities they see outside their window – real or imaginary. While most of them have been confined to their window view during lockdown, all of them have a special connection to their city and have reimagined it in its pre-pandemic glory. As the vaccines begin being administered, we enter this “post” world – and in light of this, these artists have also provided insider guides of what to see and do in these cities when the world opens up again. Gosh, how the mind boggles.
There’s a beautiful old proverb that reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick,” and I truly believe many of us have felt that this past year. Hope – in whatever shape or form you find it – has been derailed by this momentary stoppage of time. But if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s the true value of our minutes, hours, days, and months. The years have a habit of slipping away quickly, even though they seem interminable when we are living them. We just don’t know when time might be taken away from us again.
As you’re reading the edition – as you’re being inspired and as your day is being decorated by the truly beautiful imagery on the pages before you shot all across the world – saviour that moment like it’s not linked to the next.
Enjoy the issue.
GRAZIA’s Ninth Biannual Print Edition Through The Hourglass is out April 9 Pre-order here.