Monday, April 07, 2008

Then ....and Now (or) The Romance of a Watermelon

It seems like folks are always lamenting The Good Ol' Days.
Complaining about how grand things were Then, and what a Sad State of Affairs the world has come to, Now.

A sentiment I most assuredly do not share.

I'm not saying that the romance of the past holds no magic for me. Please. Historical fiction is one of my great loves.

I am saying that it confuses and saddens me when I here people say "Back in my day.....", with a dreamy look in their eye, as if their yesterdays are the only days worth living.
I always think, Well, this is your day, too.

This sentiment (that this is your day, too) is such a big part of Who I Am.
It is reflected in the way I celebrate my life, it is apparent in the way I am raising my children, it is portrayed in my political choices (that I believe strongly in Freedom and Liberty), and it is probably obvious in my daily life - such as walking away from the dishes whenever I feel like it. :)

I honestly don't see that life in a by-gone era holds more romance or magic than today.

Aside from the obvious - famine, women being eighteenth-class citizens, people in general not being seen as equals, chamber pots :) and not having a convenient place to dump them - even in the fifties - a place our folks now would call the good-ol-days we had lots of issues - among them, women being patted on the head, and being told "There there, little lady, don't you worry your pretty little head about it," wide-spread human inequality, and certainly no real choices in the way we educate our children.

I think that if you only look around -- look at your grocer in January, and you'll find watermelon. We have access to flour that doesn't have weevils and little stones. We can eat fresh vegetables in the wintertime.
Of course, if you live anywhere near my neighborhood, these things came from far away - and swiftly put an end to your 100 Mile diet.

And there are atrocities, certainly. Nuclear energy comes to mind. As does Stovetop Stuffing and Hamburger Helper. (I could be entirely wrong in judging these things as imitations of food, I don't think in my life I have consumed either one.)

But - and it is a hugely significant one - we have options. We have choices.
Yes, there is flour with all the nutrients taken out and then put back in, but there is also organic whole grain flour. There is (still!) utilization of fossil fuels - but we have the option of harnessing energy with the sun, and with wind. Yes, it's expensive, and not an option for me, personally, that I can see, but beeswax candles and lampoil were expensive, too.

It is absolutely not my position to be trite and to say "Yes, these kids today are hooked on text messaging on their phones, and people are not interacting in personal ways -- but look at all the lives cell phones save!" (we don't have cellphones in my family) It's a ridiculous point, and not relevant here.

My point is... we have so much opportunity, and so many options.
I love that I can connect with (even on a deeply intimate, and often spiritual level) with folks (women) that I have never met, that live a thousand miles away.
I am so spectacularly grateful that in this day and age, school is a moot point. Obsolete, as my husband says.
My son can (and does) ask "what is the biggest berry in the world?" -I made that up- and I can jump on my little laptop and have in-depth information for him within two minutes of his asking it.
I love that we live on the outskirts of our capital city, and my husband can and does ride his bicycle to work when he is able.

I love this life.
I love this time.

I love this pineapple sitting upon my counter.


KMDuff said...

Hear hear! :) Mmm...pineapple!

whimsigal said...

The illustrations in that book are beautiful! How did you get your hands on a book that old? Beautiful!

Like you, I'm thankful for the advances we've made through time though there are certainly things I wish hadn't been forgotten along the way. I am so thankful for pineapple on my counter, too. Nothing like eating fresh pineapple!


lerend zonder school said...

I like this post, and agree most wholeheartedly!

The one thing I think has gone to the dogs is education, or lack of self-education. Even so far as to say that parents leave the better part of the rearing of their offspring to strangers who do not have their children's best interests at heart. I won't go on, as we are all of the same mind here, but I think that is the one thing that is regressing in our society of wonderful inventions and space age technology. I don't even think the word regressing is appropriate as people from long ago (50 or even 200 years ago) took more responsibility for their children and their own learning than the majority do now. Sad to say.