Watching Time and Timelessness in Zurich

By Jheri

     High atop the peaks of the Alps, any idea of man’s concept of time is meaningless. But the timeline of the Swiss Confederation began in 58 B.C., when Rome conquered the Helvetii, the native Swiss people. This history continued through 1291, the traditional beginning of today’s Swiss Confederation; past 1499 and Switzerland’s virtual independence; and into1648 when Swiss independence was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia agreement. Switzerland remained neutral in both world wars. It seems content with spectacular views, enormous geological variety, and the highly industrialized production of jewelry, precision tools and instruments, textiles and chemicals and watches. Zurich, Switzerland, is home to the largest clock face in the world, which oversees the hustle and bustle of transient human civilization.

     Kyle Steiner of Aliso Viejo, California, was a student on vacation from his London studies in Zurich in November of 2003. He enjoyed seeing the lake, watching rowing teams, and touring this major urban center of banking and financial activities, tourist hotels, restaurants and other attractions. And he also collected some soil for Common Ground 191 while he was there. “The organic constitution of the shore of the lake where I collected my sample was coarse sand. I didn’t have anything to dig up the soil with except my hands. I had to find soil that was soft enough to get a large enough amount using just my hands.”

     Both the timeless Alps and the large clock face watched as Kyle added his contributions to this important peace project. Switzerland’s soil is certainly unique—a country that has remained neutral in civilization’s largest wars should probably have more than its proportionate amount in Common Ground191 collage. Maybe it would cause a spontaneous, contagious healing of the other earthly matter.













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