Photo by historymike
(Toledo, OH) Walking in my garden today I was greeted by the season's first tiger lily, whose orange burst opened in the moonlight as I slept.
These lillies are among my favorite flowers, as they require little maintenance and bring many years of pleasure. You just plant the bulbs, give them a little water, and watch them multiply.
I think of tiger lillies as a July phenomenon, though. Perhaps it is just my middle-aged brain deceiving me, but I associate them with the Fourth of July.
It is only in the last two centuries or so that humans have become dependent upon mechanical devices to keep track of time. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, when mass production of consumer goods became possible, watches and clocks were a sign of wealth, rather than a necessity.
Concurrently, the mechanization that accompanied the Industrial Revolution forced humans to become slaves to time. The time on our watches needs to be synchronized with that of the timekeeping devices of our employers, or we face disciplinary action.
I have worked for employers in which tardiness in excess of five minutes meant an immediate writeup. Such an obsession with punctuality seems almost dehumanizing, but far be it from me to tell that to an employer.
We are not far removed from the days when the blooming of a particular flower such as a tiger lily held great significance to the humans who lived in its vicinity. They might mark this event by planting a particular crop, or using it to gauge some other seasonal milestone.
I have become more attuned to the natural flow of time in the last few years as I have begun to devote myself to what I like to call "experiments in urban agriculture" (although I am still ostensibly a slave to mechanized time).
The annual arrival of raspberries happens near my son's early August birthday, while our lamb's ear plants bloom near the beginning of the school year. The appearance of our roses usually occurs on or around Memorial Day weekend, and is my signal that summer has officially begun.
As I look at my watch, I see that it is 11:47 am. I have to run a lot of errands and knock off quite a few items on my to-do list, but for the moment 11:47 is just a couple of meaningless numbers.