Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Time after Time

When Anand Pandian, anthropologist and scholar from Johns Hopkins University, arrived we had some idea about what he had in mind for his visit - something about spending the first day taking a deep look at our beach plastic with his eye turned toward our collection as an example of the Anthropocene; spending the second day at Kehoe Beach collecting plastic so that he could observe us in action. 

But when he walked in carrying a beautiful bouquet of local flowers that he described as part of the slow flowers movement, it was an generous expression of thanks and a foreshadowing of the conversations about time that were to become the leitmotif of his visit. 

From discussions about locally sourced flowers to the eons of geological time; from the thrill of finding clastic plastiglomerate at Kehoe Beach to the counting of every piece of plastic we picked up (754) it was an expansive two days of thought-provoking that left us full of many more really good questions than answers. 

When he departed with a ribbon of yellow polypropylene rope for a bracelet, he was ready to make a "fashion statement" about plastic on the beach. As soon as the rope was around his wrist, in the habit of looking a watch, he did a double- take as he quizzically considered that yellow band and the knot. Then, in an AH-HA moment of creative insight, he looked up and pronounced the bracelet a watch — the rope had become a time keeper of geological proportion and a reminder of keeping a "watch" on our human activity.

The question:
What time is it?
The answer: 
It all depends on how you look at it.
The question: 
What time would you like it to be?