Indian Time, Revisited

Indian Time

Many millennia ago our ancestors, who spent lots of time outdoors, noted that positions of stars in the night sky heralded the change of seasons in the year.  This was important to know.  If you want to eat, it’s helpful to anticipate when the herds move or edible plants grow.

Exactly where the sun rose and set on the horizons was another important harbinger, especially when we adopted an agricultural lifestyle.  If you want to eat, it’s important to know when to sow and get the harvest on time.  Determining the annual cycle even led to cool architecture like Stonehenge.

Fast forward to the present.  Most of the population is urban, and they spend more time indoors (as a relative once observed, it’s where there’s TV and no bugs).  If you want to know when it’s time to eat, look at your watch (if you’re retro) or phone.

You may or may not have heard of Indian time.  I heard it most often when we lived in Oklahoma, within the jurisdiction of the Creek Nation (in case you didn’t know, tribal jurisdictions in Oklahoma are what was left after the government broke all the other treaties).   When somebody was late, the joking explanation sometimes given was that they were running on Indian time.

And yes, even the Native Americans made that joke.

What we call Indian time here in the States could go by any other moniker both here and abroad:  Hillbilly time, Farmer time, Ancestral time … it’s a way of living regimented more by the world around us than artificial timepieces.

Don’t get me wrong – I appreciate that when I show up for an appointment at the dentist’s office, ten other people don’t arrive at the same time because we were all scheduled for in the morning.  Living by the clock has its advantages.

You probably didn’t notice I’d fallen behind on posting to this blog.  Yes, I was on Indian time, but that doesn’t mean I was just being lazy.  Quite the contrary, matters pertaining to farm and family needed more of my attention for a while.

Running on Indian time might make you late now and then, but that’s because you were tending to priorities.  In this world of instant gratification, getting slowed down once in a while could be beneficial.  Maybe you stopped to smell the roses.  Maybe you took some extra time to play with your kids.  Regardless, you took some time to savor living in the here and now.

Wow, that’s more serious than I usually get.  Is it time to eat yet?

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