Devolder: The Concept Of Space

By MARK DEVOLDER
Los Alamos

If you hold up your hand with fingers spread and ask an American child in school, “How many?” – the reply will be “five”.

If you ask the same question of a Japanese child in school, the reply will be “ten”. The Japanese count the whole hand as one, the five fingers as five and the four “spaces” between the fingers. Japanese gardens follow the same approach – the space between items in the garden is just as important as the plants, rocks or other items in the garden.

During rush-hour traffic times, the traffic on Trinity is heavy. When traffic is heavy, I simply relax because I know that I am not going to get anywhere in a hurry. I also tend to slow down and create more space in front of me. I can see all the red brake lights way ahead of my vehicle. If I slow down and create more space between my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me, then I may not get tangled up with stop-and-go traffic. This becomes important so that I don’t wear out the clutch in my standard transmission-fitted vehicle. To prevent accidents and reduce stress, it is also critical during rush-hour traffic to keep traffic “flowing” at a slow and steady pace.

Stop and think how important space is to human beings and other critters:

  1. What if there was no space between letters or between words in sentences? It would be very hard to read;
  2. Think about architecture which is all about enclosing space and using that space efficiently. Frank Lloyd Wright developed the Usonian House which became the blueprint for the modern American ranch house. Wright spent time in Japan and learned how to make spaces within a home “flow” together;
  3. How about all the buildings in New York City? An open space in the form of Central Park provides an outlet for city people so that everything is not a street grid with many tall buildings. There are open spaces in Los Alamos and White Rock too. I hope you enjoy them before they disappear forever;
  4. Then there is James Taylor’s lyric in the tune, Up On The Roof, “All may cares just drift right into space.”;
  5. How about elephants kept in zoos. The elephants are penned up in a limited amount of space. To relieve the limitations in space, the elephants may begin to rock back and forth. When this happens, an elephant is doomed. Elephants are mammals like people and need space to live;
  6. How about crowded airliners where the passenger seated behind you keeps banging the back of your seat;
  7. Then there is the term, “parking space.” Some people do not enjoy going “downtown” in a large city. It is crowded, there may be traffic congestion, and it may be difficult to find a parking space;
  8. How about the concept of finding peace within one’s “inner space”;
  9. Then there is the unsung hero – the auto mechanic. Mechanics need space for their hands and their tools inside crowded engine compartments. With no room for hands or tools, is it any wonder that auto repair shops charge $125 per hour for auto repairs;
  10. Why do people go camping? They may be looking for some space; and
  11. Then there is the issue of floral arrangements. The location of the flowers and the space between the flowers is important to the over-all appearance.

When I drive, I do not want to see a vehicle in my rearview mirror tailgating my vehicle. I simply need a little space to live.

LOS ALAMOS

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