One day recently, as I left work, I noticed a triangular puddle of water that had collected between two sections of curb surrounding a small garden-like zone in front of the building. The garden-like zone is carpeted with what looks like wood chips of some sort, perhaps to ward off certain sorts of insects, protect the soil, or simply provide a particular aesthetic. There is a tree with huge, plush green leaves that I always stare at while waiting for my ride home...sometimes after a day amidst carpeted rectangles within rectangles, the sight of the leaves on this tree reminds me that the world is real and I am in it.
The next day, the triangular puddle was gone, the linearity of each wood chip laid bare and emphasized by the darkness of its former immersion. My brain superimposed the image of the puddle over the now-drying area, and proceeded to play a little film of what had happened: I saw, in my minds eye, the water disappearing: some of it evaporating, some of it whipped into the asphalt parking lot by gusts of wind, but most of it sinking into the soil beneath the wood chips. Once under the chips, this puddle was no longer a puddle, but branching-out streams led through capillary action through the tiniest of roots. I glanced, again, at the succulent leaves of the tree and saw many puddles like yesterday's watery triangle splitting into discrete rivulets, some of which made their way through small roots to large roots to the trunk, to branches, and to the ends of twigs and finally into the leaves, which plumped in satisfaction at having reached optimum turgor pressure.
This is not a unique incident. Whenever I know of systems, whether in nature or in machine, I tend to visualize these systems. When I eat, I cannot help but picture the process of digestion. When my hair grows, I picture the food I eat being processed into the cells that make up things like hair. When I turn on my computer, I see electrons moving through wires and miniscule traces, semiconductor gates controlling current in a breathtaking dance of proper timing. When I see old, old buildings I am filled with strange surges of strange delight and longing for the history within: witnessing how I imagine the construction that took place, the laying of drywall, the positioning of beams. I am absolutely fixated on how things are and how they came to be...this has been the case for as long as I can remember. The more I learn, the richer experiences like walking down a sidewalk become: even the sidewalk itself contains a fascinating mini-movie of flowing particles and the process of drying cement.
When people talk about boredom, whether in their lives or as something they'd anticipate as being a consequence of a very long life, I find that I do not understand this at all. There are pictures, histories, parts, and systems everywhere, even in the most mundane-seeming of things. It took me a long time to even comprehend the meaning of "mundane" since as far as I'm concerned, everything has the potential to be fascinating. It would take an infinite number of lifetimes to pore properly over the myriad systems in unaltered nature alone, let alone the infinite potential inventions that are likely to come about due to conscious human intent.