MidWrite: Watch

MidWrites, or Midnight Writes, are a weekly exercise designed to encourage a regular writing practice, in a relaxed environment. Every week, a prompt is issued, and writers are encouraged to write a short (less than one page) piece about the topic, before midnight on the day the prompt is given. Learn more here. 

Carly 9.9.19 Watch

A powerful tool, the watch. Empowering me with the gift of observation, the insights of the attentive. The watch is inconspicuous, yet yields so much knowledge.

It takes a degree of alertness, but it also encourages the same. The watch enlivens my senses, awakens the part of my brain that thinks it’s cracking a mystery. And it is: the mystery of the observable world, the translation of the Occurrence into the Meaning.

Take the corner of the sidewalk, this afternoon, by the psychology building. Prematurely fallen leaves scatter on the ground, and a parent tree waves overhead, betraying a breeze that I hadn’t yet noticed. I watch the branches bend themselves to its will.

Then come the footsteps. I hear them before I see them. The watch involves more than using my eyes. Someone is running. The stride is too long. Even before I see the length of their legs, I can hear in the gap and feel in the subtle resonances too much force distributed too infrequently. When they pass the tree, they glance at their wrist.

There they may learn the speed at which they’re passing under the tree. Or how long it took them to get to that tree from the start of their run. Watching does not give me that information. But it does tell me something about their effort. I heard their footfalls long before I heard their breath. It’s gentle, easy; their loping stride is an easy jog. Perhaps their device confirms this. And yes, the device probably also tells them their cadence.

A powerful tool, the watch. Empowering them with the objective metrics, the simple observation of happenings, that give them the subjective gauge on their world.

From all these measure, they, and I, will extrapolate value judgements. We will decide the pace is good, the heart rate is appropriately low, the cadence is too low. It takes two seconds to glean this information from a device. I took me at least ten times that to glean the same from observation.

I feel like I gained something extra in the time I spent. A powerful tool, the watch.

The leaves rustle on, and I remember the breeze.


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