dailybell2008: 6/1/08 - 6/8/08

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Cart Before the Horse

6/7 AM Olivebridge Sunrise
Bob woke us up extra early this morning to ring the bells so we walked back to the woods where Connie had some large chimes hanging in the trees. This morning was one of the rare occasions I actually experienced the tranquility and special beauty of this time of day. We didn’t just ring the bells, we played them and we listened to each other. It made me wish I had set up for a good audio recording instead of just using the little movie camera.
The performance this morning made me aware of how perfunctory the morning ringings have become and also how predictable they are. Get up, grab some bells, run outside, ring, look around, stop after a minute or two and go back to bed. The habit and formalization of the structure for the ringing and documentation have often overwhelmed whatever is special and unique about each morning.

6/7 PM Speakers Under the Porch
It was really nice to ring bells with everyone on the porch before dinner this evening. However, my insistence to show and direct the action of what was happening obscured the possibility of letting whatever was going on to evolve. The ringing this evening has cemented the realization I had this morning about the effect of the rigid formalization of documentation and the effect this has had on the observance itself. While I am not terribly interested in producing innovative or even especially interesting documentation, I am concerned that the act of documentation itself has overly determined and defined the act of observance. So from now on, I will try to separate the act of documentation from the act of observance to whatever extent that I can. By this point, the routine has been well established and is familiar enough that I don’t need to show the bells or bell ringers over and over again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Calling all Cars

As I was walking to the subway this evening, I saw all of these police cars sitting at the bus depot parking lot. All in rows. All lights flashing. Since 911, there have been occasional “shows of force” from the police at this location just below the Williamsburg Bridge. So when I saw two policemen walking towards me, I stopped and asked one of them what was going on across the street. He said, “It’s a drill”. I tried to imagine what kind of drill required so many cars to sit together in the parking lot with their lights flashing and no other activity so I asked, “What kind of drill?” He replied, “Sometimes the police need to go places together and they need to practice getting around all together”. As I pondered his reply, I must have looked as incredulous as I felt because he added as he began to walk away, “It’s a drill”.