The ball you see above is a time ball. As this Kotttke post explains:
Women from the Yakama Native American tribe used strings of hemp as personal diaries. Each major event in their life was represented by a knot, a bead or a shell. This mnemonic device is called an Ititamat, or counting-the-days ball, or simply time ball.
In these days where more and more is digital, I love that an object like the time ball can represent a life so well.
Perhaps you have something like this in your life. A diary, perhaps. Or a photo album. Or a collection of small objects that represent your life. Whatever it is, it is something worth treasuring, just like our lives are worth treasuring.
If you don’t have something like this, perhaps it’s time you do. Your life has value and is worth representing.
For more on this, see his post.