Devolder: the concept of space

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By MARK DEVOLDER
Los Alamos

If you raise your hand with your fingers splayed and ask an American kid at school, “How much?” – the answer will be “five”.

If you ask the same question to a Japanese child at school, the answer 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 garden features is just as important as the plants, rocks or other garden features.

During rush hour traffic on Trinity is heavy. When the traffic is heavy, I just relax because I know I’m not going 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 in front of my vehicle. If I slow down and create more space between my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me, I don’t risk getting stuck in traffic. This becomes important so as not to wear out the clutch of my vehicle equipped with a standard transmission. To prevent accidents and reduce stress, it is also essential during peak hours to keep traffic “flowing” at a slow and steady pace.

Stop and think about the importance of space for human beings and other creatures:

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

When I drive, I don’t want to see a vehicle in my rearview mirror tailgating my vehicle. I just need a little space to live.

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