Thursday, July 23, 2015

Two Clocks

Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the death of Sir Sandford Fleming, and a celebration of Fleming's life and legacy was held at Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. The event featured the official unveiling of the dry stone sundial outside the Sutherland Campus. Pictured here with me is Sir Sandford Fleming's great-great-grandson, Jock Fleming; and Fleming College president Dr. Tony Tilly.

Sir Sandford Fleming among many other major achievements invented standard time and, in keeping with the theme of tracking time, the sundial serves to highlight his legacy.
I was asked to give a short speech at yesterday's special ceremony and after thanking all those who were involved in the project and talking about the process of designing and building this unique dry stone structure I went on to talk about the preciousness of time and the fact that we should make very effort not to waste it, not just by avoiding procrastinating, but also by slowing down and learning to being patient. 
There's a clock inside the building (and you can see one on the building behind the sundial) that tells you let's you know how much time you have until your next class, and there's a different clock outside, a stone one, that tells you to slow down and not be in such a rush.

Timing is everything. Just as we need to be efficient and use time wisely, by not wasting it, we also need to know when (and how) to slow the pace down and 'experience' the passing of time. The sundial helps remind us to take time to consider life, as we compare the subtle changes of shade and light caused by the imperceptible movement of the sun across the sky. A big part of being on time is being in time. This includes being 'in the moment' and appreciating the expanse of time contained in every day we've been given, as well as learning to enjoy the gradual unfolding of the seasons.

The sundial was a unique collaboration among students from the UK and Canada. Educator Tony Lowe and six of his students from Peterborough Regional College near Cambridge, England, joined five Canadian students in the Dry Stone Walling Across Canada workshop that we organized with Fleming College to build the sundial at the front entrance. It features a naturally-formed 15-foot-long limestone gnomon, and the shadow it casts points to each hour marker telling the correct time as the sun crosses the sky.

You can read more about the building of the sundial by clicking on these links to other blog posts


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