Being Time in Kenya with Heidegger

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The concept of time is fascinating. From physics to philosophy, the notion of time is difficult to define.

From our normal existence in the world, we often define time as ‘fleeting’ in the sense there is never enough. Frustration builds as the majority of time is spent catching up on work…work that is always running further and further away.

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The more worry about time, the less there is.

This has been the script for me this year.  Just as I am ready to celebrate and enjoy autumn, this great season is fading fast.

Back in September, I noticed the leaves turning color. But instead of picking up my coat and heading out, I dropped my head for a quick analysis of work and business only to look up a couple of months later to find winter staring me in the face.

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Pushing open the window, a gust of cold wind sends my work flying and a bunch of dry leaves swirling at my feet.

Where did time go?

With my work and leaves lying scattered at my feet, I realized I lost the best season of the year.

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Autumn is usually the season when time slows down.  Time to take in nature, people and the simple appreciation of life.

Hunting, fishing, football, photography, cycling or spending time on Hood Canal with family and friends; not existing in time, but actually “being time”.

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The thought of “being time” is refreshing: to reflect on memories, create new memories and actively live and project our expectations of the future in ‘the now’ the moment when time stands still. This is what autumn has always provided.

To be with somebody, to be somewhere, to be doing something you love…these are the moments, a perfect understanding of our place in time, space and the universe.

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Being Time, this is a feeling I envy right now. Sitting on the floor, sorting my papers…seeing nothing but incoherent words and riddles on these sheets of white reflecting past months of work, my eyes fall to a wooden carving I picked up in Kenya many years ago.

Autumn. Kenya. The trip when I first began defining time in a different manner.

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Prior to leaving for the Kenyan city of Nairobi, I was out with friends and they all talked about the culture shock that I would experience, jumping from the modern city of Hong Kong to the much less developed world of the Maasai Mara.

There was some truth to that, jumping into the life of Nairobi was something different, but once into the countryside time slowed down and I synchronized with the culture around me. It was as if I had returned to a forgotten home. Being where I should be. Feeling alive.

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As it turned out, I did experience culture shock, but it happened upon returning from Kenya to the modern world.

Back in the USA, amid the muck of company politics, petty jealousies and listening to the linear definition of time: the loud tick-tock of the clock signaling life is growing shorter.

Fortunately, I kept the rhythm I had found in Kenya and fell into a groove back in Seattle and later Hong Kong. Good friends, good work and listening to how time flowed naturally, rather than how it was measured on the clock made the days mine.

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This ‘Kenyan groove’ took me back to my college days where my roommate, who was a brilliant philosophy major, introduced me to the works of German philosopher, Martin Heidegger.

It took Kenya for me to fully ‘get’ what Heidegger was saying, but he was correct: “we do not exist inside time, we are time.”

The only time we have is now, this nano-second of the present to live, where all we were and will be is defined within this perfect moment to shine. As Heidegger called it: “the moment of vision”

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This concept of time is one of many theories, and helps me define the idea of being lost in a moment and having time stand still. Time is not this one-way sequential path to the end: a tick-tock of doom.

Time, instead, allows us to relive memories, actively experience and create expectations and dreams with which we float between the past, present and future. As silly as it sounds, time becomes what we want to be.

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When I am lost in a daydream…or when a beautiful girl shyly smiles and nods her head, a sensation is created that alters time. It brings into play another dimension I could not begin to define, other than a perfect, subjective component of time that I would not change for the world.

Everything stops and goes, and I want to embrace all that I can get my arms around. Time simply does not exist in linear terms at these moments. It is emotional; the mind can run free, open up memories and take me places I can only dream. In a sense, I am manipulating time. I can do no wrong.

Kenya Maasai Mara Africa-23Kenya provided an important piece in defining time and its place in nature for me. Time is what you make of it and it only blooms with loyalty and honesty to yourself, to family, to friends and to your work. In this sense, it is the simple philosophy of nature.

There may not be a better place to appreciate time, autumn or nature than in my hometown of Pendleton, Oregon.

Autumn in Pendleton means the end of the harvest season, the beauty of putting in a hard day’s work. You look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the day, and see the dirt and character: badges of honor, to be worn proudly.

Kenya Maasai Mara Africa-10Pendleton, too, reminds me of Kenya…a place where standing out on the plains as the morning breaks, time stands still. Silence along with the electricity of the day that makes me aware I am flowing as one with time.

Time waits for no one, so to understand its value and embrace it for the potential it holds is key: the “moment of vision”.

Kenya Maasai Mara Africa-5And as I continue to stare out my window, smiling with my thoughts of Kenya, Pendleton and Heidegger, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite philosophers, Dr. Seuss:

“How did it get so late so soon?  It’s night before it’s afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?”

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Pre-Dawn Coffee ~ Best Campsite I've Experienced :-)

Pre-Dawn Coffee ~ Best Campsite I’ve Experienced 🙂

 

486 Comments on “Being Time in Kenya with Heidegger

  1. Hi there dear Dalo,
    A few years ago I have read Heidegger´s book Time and Being… It was an impressive reading indeed… the idea of Dasein and existence as a fleeting succession of events… I truly enjoyed your introductory words here regarding these ideas.
    As to the photographs they are stunning… Almost mesmerizing!.
    Thanks a lot for sharing… Great post!.
    Sending you all my best wishes!. Aquileana 😀

    • Thank you Aquileana ~ there is much to be said about the idea of Dasein, and the importance for us to all understand the concept/opportunity…and it seemed fitting to pair it with Kenya 🙂 Wish you a great weekend and take care!

  2. i am deeply moved esp. the herd of elephants making their way onward with single resolve. you get the sense they see no contradiction

    • Thank you very much ~ and this photo of the elephant herd slowly marching onwards was the first shot I really fell for…very happy you saw the same. Cheers!

  3. A hell of a fine blog sir. Your photos AND writing are really fine.

    • Very much appreciate the comment ~ enjoyed the writing part almost as much as the photography. Cheers!

  4. All I can say is WOW, I am moved by your images. Stunning photography and words to live by. So glad Diana sent me over. Can I ask what kind of bird that is, (the colourful one). I can see why you have so many followers. Every image made me stop, look and soak up life in all its splendour. Thank you. Kath.

    • Thank you very much Kath ~ just finished your post on SLOW, and words to live by as well. The colorful bird is a lilac breasted roller ~ one of the most stunning birds I have seen. Cheers and wish you a great holiday season!

      • Randall thank you, the bird looks like it comes from a fantasy world I am mesmerised by it and would not have been able to keep my camera still in the excitement of seeing one in the wild. But hey I’m a bird nerd. One day I want to set up a bucket list where I travel the world in search of birds I want to see in the wild. This one needs to go on my list.

      • That is funny, because the first time I saw one I was amazed and took a very blurry shot ~ and thought I’d never see one again…but there were a few more magical moments with them in the days to come 🙂 Kenya has such a rich bird life.

    • Thank you Cat ~ that is one of the better comment I’ve received and a little afternoon delight is always a great thing. Cheers 🙂

  5. Amazing clicks! My favorite is the solitary bird of colors!

    • Thank you very much Connie! I think there is a great connection with both writing and shooting for me ~

      • You definitely have a talent for both. The reflective quality of your writing is very poetic. I shared this page with my friends on Facebook. Because I went to an International college, they are all from different parts of the world. They all have busy lives now, but I hope this photo and essay will bring them back to the two years we spent together at school as teenagers, getting to know each other in a place where and when time was our friend rather than something that slid away with little to show for it but some tasks checked off our “to-do” lists.

      • That is so true, when we were in college ~ time was for living & experiencing and time really did not matter (except in the waning hours before a paper was due…). You say it very well, it was a time when time was our friend, not something we now fear as just sliding away. Thank you much Connie ~

    • Thank you Riley, any photographer or writer dreams of having their work move someone, so very much appreciate your words!

    • Isn’t Kenya this great place where lifelong memories are born ~ cheers and wish you a great day!

  6. Your work, er creations, your posts, always astound me. I get so wow-ed with your images. Then my mind raises with your words, the expressions and the way you weave them together.
    A trip to Africa is THE trip of a lifetime. I always get so impressed by it whenever I see it on TV. Your images even more testify to that. How I really wish. If I ever go there, I would have THE time of my life, 😀 both physically and spiritually,
    Is that you? 😊

    • The trip was one of those tiny opportunities that presented itself, and when it actually worked out I was in heaven ~ it is one of those places/memories that I expect will remain fresh in my mind forever. The photo of me with coffee was the last morning on the Maasai Mara ~ I really did not want to leave! Thank you for the comment ~ and wish you a great weekend Rommel. Enjoy ~

      • I can imagine. It is my dream to be there. Next time you go there. Take me with. Lol. I’d even quit my job if I have to. Ahihihi

  7. Brilliant post Randall, I need more time to read things I want to read but getting enhanced snippets from your blog is wonderful for me. I loved the muddy ox or is it a buffalo and the rainbow bird. My parents always say take some time to make fun memories every year and when you do what you love anyway time stands still for a while.
    Best wishes
    Charlotte

    • Thank you very much Charlotte ~ the water buffalo & bird (lilac breasted roller) are two of my favorite shots as well! Hope you make time stand still during your concerts ~ and you create great memories as well. Cheers!

  8. Time, certainly our most precious gift. How we use it, what we do with it is left up to us. I know I struggle to mange it to build relationships and have experiences on the one hand, and then have to time to savor them. The older I get the harder it is to keep that fine balance. It would seem it would be just the opposite.

    • It is this strange part of life ~ the older we are the more capable we should be with managing time but it is the opposite. I suppose the answer lies in moving to the Maasai Mara 🙂 Cheers…

  9. I have to say this is the second time I come by this post, you made me think so much about time (how we use it) and had to see the photos again, the colorful bird is my favorite, love the post.

    • I think it is the ‘end-of-the-year’ thing that gets us thinking more about time and how to better use it ~ thank you Doris and wish you a great December!

      • Your welcome you want to talk email? I follow…just trying to see how to work WordPress…I made a mistake…a post on here….

  10. Amazing pictures, especially the sunset silhouettes! You have truly lived in time. Thanks for the pictures.

    • Thanks Kowie ~ silhouettes are one of my favorite, always a bit mysterious. Nothing quite like spending time doing what you enjoy. Cheers!

  11. It sounds like someone else other than your college roommate has become quite the philosopher 😉 This is such a thought-provoking and insightful discussion about our place in the world and how we fit in. You are able to weave such eloquent phrasing and emotions with the words of Dr. Seuss in such a way that makes me want to completely absorb myself in this very nanosecond, and then the next. Beautiful photography, motivating words, and inspiring insights. Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you very much Dave, very nice words coming from you ~ your writing always pulls me in. The Dr. Seuss quote did summarize the emotion and thoughts of the piece so very well. Wish you a great end of the year, take care.

  12. I was so wrapped up in your elegant and deep words I completely missed the photos… had to scroll through a second time to take in all the wonderful images. I am going to re-read this. In my life I had to shift from never having enough time to do anything to believing there is as much time as I need. Thank you for this thought-provoking post!

    • There is this incredible shift of life when moving from the ‘not enough time’ to ‘time is a bit irrelevant’ ~ things get easier and life more relaxed 🙂 Thank you and Cheers!

  13. Nice set of photos 🙂 Is your coffee a regular one or nespresso ? Cheers from Ireland

    • Enjoy a nice black cup of brewed coffee ~ although in China it is nespresso… Ireland, what a great place… Cheers!

  14. The photos are awesome! They make me want to visit Africa. I enjoyed the discussion of time. I’m constantly going backward and forward in time on my blog–and this post encourages me to think a little more deeply about time.

    • That is so true with your blog ~ the great attraction is looking at life of a different generation with out 21st century eyes… 🙂

    • Thank you very much, appreciate the thought ~ one of the most exciting shoots I’ve had. Cheers!

  15. I have looked around your blog, and find your photos and thoughts deeply engaging. I am left with a desire to travel, and to be in a warm place for a few days.

    • I second the idea of a warm place ~ sometimes, travel is just what the soul needs (even if it is travel just 30 minutes from your door). Cheers!

  16. with Heidegger?… lucky you! 🙂 guinea fowl(hen) is as popular and yummy as duck in our région Midi-Pyrénées… bon appétit! 🙂

    • I will be traveling to your region (outside of Nates) in January and look forward to trying some of your famous duck (duck is always our Christmas dinner!). Cheers!

  17. Oh my so loved your post.. Eric Tonningsen directed me to your post as posted an old poem about Time.. I agree with your perception of it. and so admire your wonderful photography.. Wonderful Post and Blog
    With Regards
    Sue

    • Thank you Sue, so nice to hear ~ and also to have Eric to connect. Time is one of those great mysteries in life to enjoy. Cheers!

  18. Pingback: Awesome Stories 201 | writing to freedom

  19. beautiful post…. have never before heard kenya described so perfectly. I look forward to reading more.
    Also beautiful photography… makes me miss kenya

    • That is perhaps the highest compliment I could receive, thank you very much ~ you have such an incredible & beautiful country.

  20. This was a wonderful post with stunning pictures! My favorite photo is the one with the zebras walking single file through the water. They remind me of a group of kindergarten students on a field trip walking single file. The main difference is the zebras seem better behaved than a group of children. There doesn’t seem to be any pushing or shoving and the line is very straight with each zebra in its proper place.

    I liked your discussion about time. The culture shock was experienced after you left Kenya and returned home, not the other way around. It sounds like a wonderful trip that provided insights on how you live your regular life.

    • Thank you Sharon, and I love your take on the ‘single-file-zebras’ being better behave (very true!)… Kenya truly was this oasis of peace and nature, and understanding how great simplicity can be.

  21. Brilliant.. I love your photos… You have captured really beautiful moments.. Nd about time.. well, its true.. we havnt learnt to utilise it the right way.. hopefully we shall learn before its too late..
    Id love to show you around my blog and get your insights on my writing.. http://www.kinniisblog.wordpress.com

  22. I have opened and browsed through this post at east five times and read it twice, but still struggling to comment 🙂

    This is like a super hit Hollywood movie … the stunning visuals catches your attention at first and then you are drawn to the story line.

    As ‘time passes’ you will slowly be able to ‘get’ what’s written between lines and a beautiful connection unravels between the visuals and words…

    I was so bored to follow the time dictated by the clock and escape from it quite frequently during my stay in Bangalore…

    Now, back in my native, I am trying to practice the philosophy “we are time” …

    It’s hard, really hard, especially when we live in a matrix 🙂

    I am not qualified to comment on these visual extravaganza, but let me tell you “I could find similar ones only in National Geographic”.

    And my favorite among these stunners is the ‘Hot Air Balloon’ one 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Dalo 🙂

    Wish you and your loved ones, Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year 🙂

    Sreejith.

    • This really made me smile, thank you Sreejith ~ I think you explain life & time very well with your description: as time goes on, we all slowly ‘get’ what is written between lines and we find connections. I think that is what you have found in your home town. Wish you and your family a great new year, and look forward to our further adventures 🙂

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