Day 45: The blur of time

Time lapse photography is eerily like memory. Days get clipped into seconds, and all of it speeds by – making it hard to distinguish what the exact difference is as each image blends into the next.

How is Day 43 different from Day 34? What happens when one day piles atop another?

In my second round of placing pennies on the sculpture, I tried to slow it down and savor each day as I relived it. I narrated my thoughts into a recorder, to capture those fleeting feelings again.

I photograph the sculpture after each penny, and compile it into an animated gif file. Watching this gif compresses an hour into a few seconds, just as the act of placing each of the pennies compresses days into an hour.

The act is a necessary journalistic record. Still, it makes me sad.

Those days are gone, consumed, spent. The pennies, as I cement them into place, become fixed, no longer useable currency.

I cannot retrieve them. I can only remember them, and then only the merest fragments. It feels like a huge loss. I cannot compel the happiness of the good days to remain, and I cannot erase the pain of the bad days. The pennies are locked in a vault of time.

The only consolation lies in stepping away from the camera and stopping the time lapse gif.

Maybe time really is a human invention, something we created to bring an order to the flow and chaos of our immediate universe.

I chose a penny from the box at random. The year was 2008, the surface gummed with black.

Day 45 2008

I try to retrieve a memory from 2008… it was my first Appalachian spring. I spent hours and hours photographing flowers. Every one of them seemed an architectural wonder.

A gift that opened slowly, like time lapse… as in later years I came to learn their names and later still learned their healing powers.

Every flower I photographed has died long ago. But flowers have no regrets.

Maybe we should let go of time, and not try to hold onto it.


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