Telling ____ Time

Beginning on March 15 2020 (the start of Covid-19 lockdowns in Maine, US), I have spent about one hour nearly every day taking a walk in the place where I live. My experience living through the no-time of immigration procedures earlier in my adulthood taught me that a self- and world-determined temporal structure would help me stay afloat. Without the daily temporal and locational demands of an on-site job; without weekend visits to friends and family; without the movements through space and the markers in time provided by religious, social, educational, and vocational gatherings, how could I tell time? The duration and geographies of my daily walks came to act as constraints for recording the facts of light, vegetation, inflorescence, precipitation, temperature, and color that, in the absence of other structuring habits and practices continue to teach me how to tell time during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Melt recording, 4 March 2021, East Deering, Portland, ME (US).

Calendar: March 23 – May 23. Pastel, graphite, and colored pencil on Canson paper, 14 x 24 inches. 2020.

This drawing tracks the color of various plants endemic to Farmington, Maine (US), on the date of their first recording in my notes during spring 2020. Each calendar record also notes the number of Covid-19 cases in the US on that date, giving two ways of telling time.

Left to right, top to bottom: Lilac leaf bud | Snowdrop | Horsetail | Crocus | Daffodil | Dandelion | Scilla | Mallow | Willow flower | Hyacinth bud | Rose stem and leaf bud | Wild strawberry | Violet | Magnolia bud | Peony shoot | Fiddlehead | Lungwort | Rhododendron | Phlox | Trillium | Maple flower | Houstonia caerulea | Apple blossom | Quince flower | Lilac flower

The outcomes of this practice have been threefold: an unfolding and ongoing being-in-relation to the places I have lived (Farmington, Maine; East Deering, Portland, Maine) during this time; photographic and audio documentation of light, plants, color, water, and shadow that tracks the passage of climate and seasonal time; and a series of pastel drawings responding to the appearance and duration of given plant species in Farmington, Maine in spring 2020.

Telling spring time (twelve clocks). Pastel and colored pencil on paper, 42 x 38 inches. 2020.

This series of twelve drawings tracks the color of twelve species of plants emerging in Farmington, Maine (US), from the time I first took a photo of them on my daily walk to the time I last took a photo of them, between March 15 and May 15.

Left to right, top to bottom: Horsetail, grass, snowdrop, dandelion, scilla, daffodil, forsythia, hyacinth, violet, magnolia, lilac, apple blossom.

Telling spring time