KNOTTINGS IN TIME
I appreciate Thomas van Dooren’s attention, in Flight Ways, to species as things that happen in time. In this he makes use of Deborah Rose Bird’s conception of “knots of embodied time”: compounds of sequence and synchrony, patterns of generation, of being born, living, and dying, tangled up at the same time in synchronicities of interaction and exchange. These make for a knotty warp, as we’re simultaneously involved with projects on vastly different time scales: the span of a life—of a species of tens or hundreds of millions of years—as party to the “Cenozoic achievement,” a community of life ways that emerged out of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event that brought an end to the world of dinosaurs. When species interact—when I aim a chirp at a titmouse, or spook a raccoon foraging in the nightime snow, or roust out a winter moth that’s nestled into a dark corner of the kitchen—these temporal strands come into knotty confederacy with one another. Biodiversity braids through these moments, not merely as a frame through which to see other creatures, but as one shaft of light which, interwoven with others, draws the dappled compositions of moments together.
Can we learn to perceive this dappled condition—to sense, and value, the knottings of time we make in our being-species entanglements?