Our experience of time

Sometimes I sit in a chair on the patio in the afternoon sun. If I’m just the right combination of tired, relaxed, and comfortable, and if the wind, sun, temperature, and soundscape are just so, I can drift into a trance. Time passes. After which, I have no clear sense of whether it was a moment, or ten minutes. It doesn’t seem that time had stopped, rather it feels like time had ceased to affect me. Did I breath? Did I move? Did I even think in that time?

It’s not only that our experiences of space are different. Our experiences of time are likely different, too. We think about the passage of time through our terrestrial experience of unidirectional motion through space – our metaphors of time are almost all grounded in the way our bodies move forward through the environment. Given this fact, how would an octopus, who can easily see and move in all directions, conceptualise time?

~ David Borkenhagen from, https://aeon.co/essays/can-the-liquid-motion-of-the-octopus-radicalise-our-ideas-about-time

Sometimes I find things on the Internet and there’s a clear takeaway for me, or a clear new-to-me idea or connection. This isn’t one of those times. Instead, I dipped into this article one day, came out the other end aware that it had to be included in a post.

And, perhaps I just fell asleep?


You had me at trees

Trees often have my attention. I find myself thinking about the spot where a tree is standing. Whether its seed fell there, or someone planted it, that spot is it. The tree is simply going to stand there as the sun whips across the sky thousands of times. I imagine the tree turning its leaves quickly (in tree time) to catch what light it can during each flash overhead.

Intrigued by this unheard of species, Wang set out to see it for himself and to collect specimens, which he shared with colleagues. One of them was Hsen Hsu Hu. A diligent paleobotanist, he had read of Miki’s fossil discovery five years earlier. As soon as he saw the peculiar needle pattern, Hu recognized the “water fir” as a Metasequoia.

~ Maria Popova from, https://www.themarginalian.org/2023/01/31/dawn-redwood-metasequoia/

There’s a lot of interesting leaps in the story Popova shares. Across a war, across two cultures, but the vast time this tree has crossed is insane. We have fossils of this tree… and we still have the live tree. My mind boggles.

But mostly, Popova had my attention at trees.