Right then. What kind of clock did you view to check the time? Your watch? Your phone? A wall clock? Analog? Digital? Sundial?
Did you guess the time before checking for a definite answer? Why, or why not?
What is the date? Which calendar did you reference? Gregorian, Assyrian, Ptolemaic, Zoroastrian? Do you even know? Does it even matter?
How far back into your own past (and the pasts of others) must you (or anyone) reach to find relevance in this moment?
Will that moment we just shared (in an asynchronous author-reader sense, anyway) be relevant in the future? Is relevance relevant to you in this moment?
While it would be great to delve into multiple scales and perspectives of time right now, we just do not have time. There is too much else about time relevant to this concept of TimeTracks, including its own history and future, as well as that of its creator, your friendly author.
Listen: there is just enough time (and space) to give homage to what are typically considered the two primary contrasting viewpoints of time: the arrow of time (entropy, etc.) and the experience of time. Maybe there will be more time further along this collection of words to dig in a bit deeper, depending on how (un)stuck this essay becomes.
Early December snow fell on Alleghany County, North Carolina. We got about six or eight inches, with deeper drifts in the usual spots. Of course, as a photographer, as the flakes start to fall, and it becomes apparent that we’re going to get some serious accumulation that will stick around for a while, I start thinking about the best spots to shoot, and how to get there before they’re disturbed, especially by other humans.
And I start checking the weather forecast to figure out when and where the light and snowscapes are going to be best, thanks to clouds, wind, and all those intricately interwoven variables we just can’t know.
December 9th, 02017
My father and I started on the Blue Ridge Parkway at the gate near Mahogany Rock Road, at the base of Bullhead Mountain. Technically, I can easily hike here from the house, but I wanted to save some time and get to some good spots while the conditions were good — and potentially before anyone else got there.
As I continue to travel the world—and spend more time exploring my own big backyard right here in North Carolina—I’ve come to realize that I can apply my academic training, professional experience, intelligence, and creative abilities in a combined effort over the next few decades to produce what I think and believe will be experiential documents worth consuming as materials for lifelong learning and understanding. I am conceptualizing an ongoing series of experiential documentation, taking appropriate form over time as ebooks, print books, magazines, interactive apps, websites, and perhaps even videos.
This concept first came to me when I was looking at a map of the United States and thinking about the difference between national parks and national monuments. Based on my personal experience onsite at various national monuments, coupled with my research and perusal of the maps of these monuments and the surrounding areas, I realized that I would love to commit to exploring and documenting a sense of place in each of these areas—demonstrating their importance as sacred spaces for maintaining the natural order of our relationship with the environment and all other species with which we share it.
So, to put a stake in the ground, I created a map of all the US National Monuments. (Yes, there is at least one that does not appear in the image.)
Inspired by my recent trip to Helsinki, which included a stay at the hostel on Suomenlinna, I decided to add UNESCO World Heritage sites to the map. I figured it would be interesting to see how many UNESCO sites in North America are within reasonable proximity to US National Monuments, thus allowing me to combine several locations into exploratory experiential documentation journeys of 1-3 months in duration.