Saturday, June 29, 2013

June of Every Calendar

In one full rotation of the earth, we observe the appearance and disappearance of sunlight. The diurnal cycle of the earth is one of many reoccurring patterns by which we experience time. We also experience time by witnessing seasonal changes and by observing life cycles.

Physicists and cosmologists have long puzzled over the nature of time.

Turning the calendar page of June, I am struck by the artificiality of time. In Snake River Overlook, I write of Ansel Adams' photograph of the Snake River flowing south past the Tetons that it's the:
"June of every calendar"
The Tetons and the Snake River, 1942.
Ansel Adams, 1902 – 1984
The subject, quality of light, and composition of Adams' grand image strikes a universal chord. Like the predictable cycles of sunlight, or the predictable ticks of a metronome, Adam's dramatic image is memorable enough to become popular iconography.
“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.” Pablo Neruda, 1904 – 1973.
Like clocks, calendars are a relatively recent invention that give us analogs to diurnal and seasonal events. We mark time by calendars. Calendars and clocks name and objectify what we can sense with less precision. Clocks and calendars allow us to attend to time and arrive at appointments at the appointed time.

Time is like months rendered in panels. Which panel is June? Is it the panel behind, the panel ahead, or both?

Pine Trees (ink on six folded screens)
Hasegawa Tōhaku, 1539 - 1610
Time is a voyage of moments. Moments are neither discrete or continuous. It is time that affords us the distance to mark milestones, but perhaps more urgently, it is time that gives us the space for discovery.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”Marcel Proust