23.3.11

Flower time

The phrase "Island Time" is a misnomer. It may be true if you live on an Island far away from anything else. People on those islands, of course, have nothing else to do. Hence "Island Time." This is not true of Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge Island is located just miles from downtown Seattle and is readily accessible by ferry. Ferries ruin island time. Living on Bainbridge and working (or in my case, going to school) in Seattle makes your life revolve around one thing: ferry times. I feel like I'm always for a ferry. This is especially true on the Seattle-side. The first thing I do when I make an appointment or find out my class schedule or plan a trip over to the 'city' is refer to the ferry schedule. I don't have to do much of this anymore, however, because I practically have it memorized. My life revolves around making the ferry and trying to make the earliest possible ferry home. The ferry time mindset negates island time.

I stumbled on an invention from my old buddy Carl Linnaeus this morning called the flower clock. While he was creating the most brilliant botanical nomenclature system in all of history, he was also studying a (already established) field called "chronobiology". The gist of it is, he found that different species of flowers open at different times of day. Certain flowers opened at 6:30am, others at 7:00am. He studied these plants over the course of years and concluded that one could tell what time it is simply by watching the flowers in the garden. So he created this:





Linnaeus was apparently so busy naming things that he never got around to putting one together, which is probably why the idea of a flower clock actually fails miserably. It didn't take into account weather and seasonal changes, such as length of day. Easy mistake!

The flower clock requires attentiveness. It demands us to slow down, perhaps kneel close to the earth and study something. It requires one to observe the literal unfolding of time, to understand one point in time from another based on tiny green plants. It's not as simple as glancing at your watch or opening up your iphone's digital time display.

One of the reasons why this probably would have never caught on (especially today) - besides the fact that it was utterly flawed- is because people can't stop for anything. It's true for me as well. I rarely stop moving between the ferry and the UW campus - except for in my seat on the bus! I'm always rushing, trying to make that next bus, and trying to catch that ferry so I can be home at a reasonable hour. I wish that I could use my garden to keep time. It would at least urge me to slow down, stop, and pay attention. Attention is the greatest gift you could give yourself and the ones you love.

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