For six weeks, in the winter of 2014, I lay on my couch with my swollen foot higher than my head. I had torn my Achilles tendon, and time, as I’d heedlessly known it, had stopped. Normally, if I’m not working for a couple of weeks I feel like I’m wasting time. It’s a phrase we all use, but what does it really mean? As I spent weeks doing next to nothing, the idea of wasted time disappeared. Slowing down made me feel the hours pass palpably, and to my surprise, the value of my time increased with my stillness.
Between episodes of The Wire, I played gin rummy, read, ruminated, or drifted into a stupor. An array of books sat in piles around the couch and now I picked them up. It was Smithson’s essay about Frederick Law Olmsted, “The Dialectical Landscape,” that got me thinking about rocks. Smithson cast