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Monday, May 18, 2009

WATER ON THE ROCKS


Turning inward to the flow of water over rocks, I've been looking at the guiding purpose of this blog, which I've not yet let any of you readers in on. It's not that it's a secret. I wanted to get a ways into it to see if what gets done matches what I set out to do. So far it has. It seems like the writing of it has taken the lead and guides where I'm going, as I hoped it would. It appears to have a flow of its own now.
What I believe I'm getting at, what motivated this project is an inclination to make a record of the cultural changes and landscape changes in my time here, thirty plus years. Not item by item, but as we move along, the way we go through changes in ourselves. Here again the macrocosm is the microcosm. They interchange back and forth such that they are the same. They just look different from various perspectives. I dare to think of each of these daily entries as puzzle parts that together make the whole. The whole is the world I live in as I perceive it, Waterall Road. Like William Faulkner said, write what you know. Can't say I know it well, but it is the only world I know.
I've read a lot of Chinese fiction and seen dozens of mainland Chinese films the last few years. The old people dress the traditional ways and carry the beliefs from before the best they're able. The rural people continue in the old ways too. The young leave and go to the city, dye their hair green, get peircings and talk on cell phones while they dance at discos. The kids can't communicate with grandparents at all, because they're hicks. Just like here. I'm seeing a parallel between what the Chinese people are going through and what we in the mountains are going through. It has helped me clarify what I've come to see as a point in time moving through such a long transition it has become a continuum.

The old culture is swept away a day at a time, a pop song at a time, a tv show at a time, and the new Pop culture moves in. It's New. Everything about it is New. Ipods are old. Twitter is getting old. Keeping up with the latest is such a passion it surely causes ulcers in some. The traditional cultures all over the world are being swept aside the same way, by the cult of the New. The Amazon River is mud like our Mississippi. They have cell phone mania there too.

Here, you see old men in bib 'overhauls' and ballcaps with a billboard on the front advertising something to do with farm equipment. They're often scholars of the Bible. The next generation dresses according to what department stores are selling that's advertised on tv. The next generation dresses by Walmart, and then the faux hip-hop whiteboys with ballcap on backwards, pants half way down and eyes that say there aint nothin goin on in there.

The entire lifetime of every of us has been lived in this transitional time between the old ways and whatever is next. The transition is far from over. It looks like we're on a self-destruct course sometimes, yet we make it through. The pilot who landed the passenger jet in the Hudson River averted disaster the same way our blind gropings into the future that look like we're flying a plane into the side of a mountain in fog somehow make it through. It takes some serious adjustments at the last minute, but they always seem to get done.

We're moving into the new world of electricity, from which there is no going back. The Age of Electricity was characterized a century and a half ago as Prometheus Unbound. I've an idea when the transition period is over, we'll have the new world we've been striving toward. In America, it might be deomocracy that's more inclusive. Might even be in China. That appears to be the direction we're moving in. But there is no knowing. I'd like to make the world I live in as interesting to you as it is to me. It's the mystery that keeps it interesting; if we knew the future, it would be boring by the time we got there.


1 comment:

  1. i am 24 years old and it saddens me that i could'nt agree with you more. life is fast and it is getting faster there are times when i slow down and take a deep breath that i realise how beautiful my surroundings are. all i truly want is to live for those moments that is my bliss. thoreau once suggested that we not live our lives "meanly as ants", it was one of the hardest concepts for me to grasp at first, now days its all i can think of.

    p.s.keep up the good work i have thoroughly enjoyed all the blogs
    your friend in spirit

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