Thursday, November 12, 2009

A little bit o yesteryear

I saw this little horse and buggy riding down rout 66 the other day on one of my many trips to the vet this week. The driver was thrilled I took a picture and after I had taken the shot he waved and gave me a tip of his hat. I felt like a tourist! Part of me was a tourist.

There is this fascination I have with the romance of yesteryear and when I see things like this my mind goes there for a spell. I think about it in terms of closeness and interdependence of community. I wonder what it would be like not to have the option to speed down route 66 going 65 or 70. The fact that our bodies’ race through time by train, plane and automobile must be proof of our own species rapid evolution that we are encountering in real time. But thinking like that just makes me crazy.

The year is 1868, Who would I be? what would I be doing? Probably the same thing I am doing now but knowing how easy I have it now, a whole lot harder. Daily chores and tasks like washing clothes would sound and feel very different. Maybe I wouldn’t go through so many clothes if I had to wash them all by hand, or I wouldn’t have so many clothes if I had made them myself or traveled far and paid a pretty dollar for them. If I had to boil the water, carry buckets in from the well etc. What would it be like when the folks you knew called and it still meant they came over? “The Dr. called on mother today”. “The tinker called and mended some tin”. Wouldn’t I value things and people more? Wouldn’t I care more? Or would not knowing the difference keep me benign. I don’t know. I will give myself a little credit I do put an extremely high value and gratitude for the people in my life and the task at hand.

Folks welcomed “progress” I’m sure I would have, fast traveling electricity and so on. I get that. But, the tradeoff I think is how “progress” has polluted us as a people, poisoning our bodies and environment. There are so many wonderful advancements that I can’t even pretend to imagine life without but…what is the trade off? For each of it is probably different. For me the trade off is the cancer my sister died of last year, it’s the obese children in our schools that are malnourished, and the fact that we’re just so busy and overwhelmed to do anything that actually addresses the cause, Because in doing that we would have to compromise “progress” or admit that “progress” is actually killing us and saving us at the same time and for that there may be no compromise.

This fine gentleman in his horse drawn carriage reminds me of the balance I need in my values for a way of life and the ease in which I’m able to conduct it.
If you were to reach back into the past what would you like to bring into your life right now?
What would you leave behind?

1 comment:

Delphyne said...

That wave of progress is like a tidal wave, isn't it? There are many things I like about "progress." And many that I don't, some of which you mentioned.

I would leave behind television - I don't care for most of the programming and I don't like being programmed by others who want to lure me into their way of life, their belief systems, an addiction to buying "things" that have no sense of beauty or practicality.

I would like to bring more slowness from the past to the now - slow time for being a human being and not a human doing. Slow time to connect with the Earth and all of the gifts offered by her. Slow time to breathe in the beauty of our planet. Slow time to relax and let my imagination loose. Slow time for simple pleasures of honest relationships, playing with the dog, watching the wind blow the leaves into fantastic patterns.

Slow time. That's what I would bring to now.