Time lapses

I just finished watching the award-winning BBC Series Life. Among the many dramatic sequences were some filmed using time-lapse videography. In particular I was intrigued by images of invertebrates moving across the floor of the Beaufort Sea and of woodland plants growing in the English countryside. Animals such as starfish, snails, and organisms called nemerteans, move slowly but not so slowly that their activities cannot be detected by those with patience. However, as you know, plants move so slowly that their actions cannot be detected in real-time. [There are exceptions of course such as explosive dehiscence of the sort seen in Impatiens or the seemingly muscular contraction of carnivorous plants such as the Venus Fly Trap.] The time-lapse sequence of the woodland plants shows Narcissus, Foxglove, and brambles all moving in what appears to be real-time … dancing, strolling, pirouetting, and even running. The effects are amazing. I mention this because looking at the image below makes me think of what I would see if I could make time move more quickly. I could watch the Virginia Creeper scaling the wall of this neglected structure as leaves move over a field when transported by a stiff and unrelenting breeze. Perhaps, if their pace were somewhat more leisurely, the plants would move chaotically; they would swirl, eddy, and perhaps retreat under the influence of invisible forces. The building too moves at a plant-like pace and under the incessant pull of entropy, toward ground state. I am glad I am only able to view this particular process in real-time and that I cannot watch it sigh, sag, and degrade before my eyes. The stately pace with which it moves is quite fast enough – thank you.

%d bloggers like this: