Time-lapse videos, ho hum. Hasn’t the world had enough? Apparently not, as this new video, Natural Phenomena by Reid Gower has taken over the internet world—going crazy on Reddit and being featured on the likes of BuzzFeed, Gizmodo, Gawker and HuffPost. And maybe rightfully so—it’s gorgeously shot, has a very with-the-times (albeit obnoxious) soundtrack and juxtaposes the man-made world with the natural one.
But I think that the internet giants got it wrong—and, frankly, the filmmaker did as well. From Gower (emphasis added): “Humans are part of the natural order. We’re risen apes that acquired language and learned to use tools. Skyscrapers and spacecraft may seem unnatural, but they’re just as much a part of the natural order as beaver dams and bird nests.”
To me, what makes this time-lapse stand out amongst the hordes of videos isn’t that it visually merges man and earth into some realization of intrinsic oneness. Instead, it’s that these five minutes so clearly illustrate the pace of modern human life—and then pit that hectic, always-moving, bigger, brighter, better reality against the simplicity, awesomeness (that is, awe-someness) and meandering pace of the natural world. A pace that feels steady and unaffected, even when pitted against the bass-pounding dubstep that’s screaming at the environment to speed it up.
It’s that tension—that resistance—that makes this video stand out. It’s a slap-in-the-face reminder why it’s so important to get outside, to push back against humanity’s new status quo, to experience life in real time. Gower may claim that skyscrapers and bird nests are all a “part of the natural order,” but suffice it to say that it’s not an order I’m willing to succumb to just yet.