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Another Way of Thinking About Time--

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I woke up this morning and started, or continued reading NO WORD FOR TIME; The Way of the Algonquin People, about the wisdom and philosophy of the Algonquin people. Author Evan Pritchard, founder of the Center for Algonquin Culture, tells how, while there is no word for time, for minutes, hours, etc., time is described by the passage of and interaction with events. First creek freeze day is new years day.

Cranberry moon is "the time" when the cranberries ripen.

How long will it take? Until it is finished.

He writes how the Algonquin, his ancestral tribe-- the Mic Mac, characterized the time keeping device as Captain Clock" because it controls you and dictates to you how you live.

Pritchard's book is quite extraordinary. We learn that We the People is English for the commonly used Algonquin word ulnuq and that the phrase, walk your talk is also of Algonquin derivation. This is a book worth digesting and trying some of the ideas on for size.

I got out of bed, went out side and there was a groundhog in the backyard, about 12 yards away. I stood very still. Usually, our groundhog neighbors take off running as soon as they hear the door open. This one, a younger member of his clan, was clearly on a mission, sniffing and smelling at the grass. Then he found someting. He sat up on his haunches, held it up to his face with his front paws, then started to daintily enjoy his morning repast. As soon as he'd finished, he went back to carefully, inch-by-inch, looking for more.

I watched him for about five minutes, trying to fit my mind into his way of being, while at the same time, trying to compare the world of this animal to the human world. Every time he (or she, I'm not very adept at gender identification in groundhogs,) sat on his hind legs and demonstrated fine motor dexterity with his paws, it reminded me of the short distance between this mammal and humans. Then, responding to a scent or sound I couldn't detect, he suddenly darted off, out of sight.

Following his example-- grazing that is-- I went to kitchen, cooked myself to eggs-- the whites, indulging in cooking them in butter, not olive oil, then put them on a whole wheat pita, with some chipotle flavored cheese (on sale for $1.98 for 8 ounces,) sprinkled some spicy pineapple salsa (which my son bought the other day) and some of those microgreens I picked up last weekend, marvelling how fresh they still were. Delicious. Next-- it's time to write and to get out the day's newsletter. And so, here we are.

This morning's moments made me think about the Iraq withdrawal timeline. In the Algonquin way of thinking, we might describe the time as rotten dead skunk. The idea that anything good could come of Iraq has become a stinking carcass. Those who still think any good can come of it still must be accustomed to eating very bad, very rotten meat. Truly, they are stupid white men.

But that is this stupid white man's impression. I'm hoping we'll be able to persuade author Pritchard to write some of his thoughts on how the Algonquin might have seen things. To be continued...


Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the

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With his experience as architect and founder of a technorati top 100 blog, he is also a new media / social media consultant and trainer for corporations, non-profits, entrepreneurs and authors.

Rob is a frequent Speaker on the bottom-up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey and Positive Psychology. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates, and optimizing tapping the power of new media. Watch me speaking on Bottom up economics at the Occupy G8 Economic Summit, here.

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Actually, one is wise not to preclude a possible g... by Mark A. Goldman on Saturday, Jun 9, 2007 at 10:30:31 AM
I enjoyed reading this, particularly the part abou... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Jun 9, 2007 at 2:17:34 PM
as it was not a hedgehog but a groundhog in the ar... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Jun 9, 2007 at 4:51:20 PM
I offered no info, only opinions, and it is only w... by Steven Leser on Saturday, Jun 9, 2007 at 5:43:13 PM
we, humans are very far away from that tranquil wo... by Mark Sashine on Saturday, Jun 9, 2007 at 6:35:52 PM