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ΚΑΙΡΟΣ

by VM Brasseur on October 20th, 2006

It’s been a rough week at work. Staying late, working hard, putting out fires and calming the restless natives before they put your head on a pole and parade it around the camp. You know, the usual.

That being the case I’d earned the right to sit on the couch with my leftovers and watch a movie which Netflix sent me a month or more ago.

During a slow point in the movie I looked around and saw my wine glass in silhouette on the wall across the room, the shadow cast there by the setting sun streaming through the window. I sat and admired it for a minute before it dawned on me to photograph it. I retrieved my camera, lined up the shot and…the sun fell behind the trees at just that moment.

The Ancient Greeks had this concept called καιρος (kairos). This is the opportune moment, that key point in time when something special can or does happen. Missing the chance to photograph the shadow reminded me about καιρος. Sometimes we have a very small window within which to act and it’s up to us to recognize when the window has been flung open.

It’s also up to us to chose how to react when we find the window suddenly closed against us. Like most Greek nouns καιρος has a plural version: καιροι. There’s more than one opportune moment. You miss one, another will eventually appear. Just keep your camera nearby since you never know when it will happen.

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2 Comments
  1. Nice! The corrolary, though, is not to miss out on moments because you are too busy photographing them… (a problem I have sometimes while on vacation, I think.)

  2. eunos94 permalink

    In a related way, my favorite time of the day is that spot, sometime early in the morning or late in the evening, when the sun has either not quite made it out, or is quickly on it’s way out. There’s just enough light to see form, but color is absent. It’s almost as if the world was on hold for that 5 minute moment. That spot inbetween night and day. A distinct moment of non-action. Of waiting. Ah, to bask in nothing.

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