Communion Of Dreams


It’s about Time

My wife and I have been big fans of the UK TV show “Time Team” for a long time, and a couple of years ago when producer Tim Taylor decided to try and revive the series using a Patreon model, we were happy to sign on and tell a number of our friends about it. Unsurprisingly, we discovered that the series was also popular in our friends group, especially those who share our interest in English/Welsh/Scottish/Irish history.

Well, about a year ago, one of our friends entered a competition hosted by Time Team about the series, and, well, I’ll let her tell the rest:

Maybe you remember back in October, Time Team asked people to tell them “What are you most excited about Time Team returning, and why?” Like many people I fangirled a bit to show my appreciation, then forgot about it.

So I was very surprised when Time Team contacted me around Thanksgiving to tell me they liked my comment so much they are sending a gift. I asked if they would send it to the friends who had introduced me to Time Team, and given Customs and all they thought it would be less confusing if it came to me.

And she sent it to us: Custom Time Team Trowel #400.

Well, we were thrilled. It’s really cool to hold that thing in your hand, feel a connection to the show we loved.

But we decided that after we’d kept it for a time, that it would be best to share it. To pass it on to someone else who shared our love for the show. For it to become a ‘traveling trophy’.

I spent some time thinking about it over this past busy (and eventful) year, and finally decided to make a simple journal for recipients of the “Traveling Trowel” to record some thoughts and dreams inspired by the show. And of course, there needed to be a box to hold the trowel and journal. I wanted everything to feel informal, yet professional. Sorta like Time Team.

This was the result:

Rich archival goatskin. Archival drawing paper interior.
Simple longstitch, flexible binding. Ribbon closure with a custom wood composite button. Natural edge to the leather.
Birch plywood box. Cover laser etched. Sides piercework trowel design. Lift-off cover.
Box interior. Trowel in signed linen bag, journal under.
Journal in box.

In order to set the stage for the journal, I asked my wife to write the following introduction:

This trowel is magical.

Take it in your hand. Feel the weight of it. The balance. How it fits into your palm. How your thumb and fingers curl around it.

Then close your eyes. Let your mind roam. To somewhere you love, even if you’ve never been there in person. Picture the place. Then channel your inner Phil Harding. Or Helen Geake. Or whichever member of the Time Team, past or present, comes to mind. See yourself exploring the past of the site you’ve chosen, trowel in hand.

Then, if you’re willing, share here where you’ve been. Where the Traveling Trowel has taken you.

And, as a record documenting the history of the Trowel, I mounted my friend’s letter next, followed by my own entry. For that entry I naturally pictured St Cybi’s Well

Ffynnon Gybi

There, in the valley below the hamlet of Llangybi on the Llŷn Peninsula, the old stone structures beckon. But behind them, the Holy Well itself springs forth.

It is here that the trowel leads me. Without disturbing the ground, I can visualize scraping away the upper layers of dirt. Removing the modern soil. Down past the traces of the 18th and 19th century structures that now dominate the site. Deeper, to the remaining imprint of the medieval surface where pilgrims knelt beside the water, seeking healing for body and soul.

Then deeper still, seeking the foundations of myth of the man who would become Saint Cybi. Perhaps his simple hovel where he meditated, seeking a connection with his God. Perhaps some small artifact which has survived the centuries, uncovered, pristine in my mind’s eye, a holy relic …

The Traveling Trowel will move on. I hope that each recipient will add their own bit to the lore of it. But I also hope that each recipient will give the next person some small memento related to their time with it. Here’s what I made for my friend, us, and the person that I have passed it on to:

Three acrylic inserts.
In the light base. White light, obviously.
And in blue.

Thanks for visiting. And if you haven’t yet, check out the Time Team Patreon page.



Jim Downey

Just a note: none of this is for sale. And yes, I took some minor liberties with the official Time Team design to better fit my personal aesthetic and the capabilities of my laser. No criticism of the original design is intended.



Of course they do.

From Chapter 1 of Communion of Dreams:

“I’ve had my expert do a preliminary search through the old NASA archives. I recalled that they had protocols for dealing with such possible situations, and I doubt that anyone else has really thought much about it since the turn of the century.

“In addition to Don’s field team, the preliminary search suggests that another component should be theoretical, a mix of disciplines so that we can get as broad a spectrum of experience and mind-set as possible. Probably we should have an expert in computer technology. A cultural anthropologist. Someone with a background in game theory and communication strategy. An artist or two. We’ll see if a more thorough survey of the NASA material has any good suggestions beyond that. I’ll get to work identifying appropriate individuals.”

 

Well, guess what news was announced last week:

During the past few years, NASA has released a series of free ebooks, including NASA Earth As Art and various interactive texts focusing on the Webb and Hubble space telescopes. Last week, they added a new, curious book to the collection, Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication. Edited by Douglas A. Vakoch (the Director of Interstellar Message Composition at the SETI Institute), the text contemplates how we’ll go about “establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence.” The scholars contributing to the volume “grappl[e] with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected.” And to make sure that we’re “prepared for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come,” they draw on “issues at the core of contemporary archaeology and anthropology.” Why archaeology and anthropology? Because, says Vackoch, communication with intelligent life probably won’t be through sound, but through images. We will need to read/understand the civilization we encounter based on what we observe.

 

Heh. I love seeing this stuff happen.

 

Jim Downey