It has been nine months since I published my first post and joined this wonderful world of the real and the surreal: The Blogosphere. The experience has changed me quite profoundly. My family has commented on this and with a little trepidation. I suppose it is because they are somewhat concerned with my mental health.
In fact they think me quite mad. They say I’m obsessed with blogging. They say I’ve lost my mind.
Am I mad? You decide…..
I carry my camera wherever I go. I will whip it out abruptly and snap pictures often of mundane things at strange angles. I will do what it takes to the right shot even crawling around on all fours, getting in someone’s bushes or just lying flat on my back on a neighbor’s lawn to get some sky shots. I have developed no shame in these circumstances and luckily no one has yelled at me for sprawling out in their yard.
I look at the sky and wonder if it would make a good background.
“I can write about that” is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of the house.
I have 18 spiral notebooks each mostly filled with outlines, notes, quotes and half-baked ideas.
I feel strange if I don’t “check in” to my site for over 24 hours.
I have been wearing the same yellow shirt that makes me resemble the female Jack Hanna for the last 9 months.
I chat online with a fantastic assortment of highly artistic animals, people and objects with odd pseudonyms. I myself am called strawberryindigo. I do get a bit of eye rolling around the house for that one.
I strut around like a newspaper tycoon; shouting out orders to the cat, keeping the print department up all night with last-minute changes and totally harassing my editor to the point where he won’t speak to me anymore.
I am considering having “Strawberryindigo.” cards made.
I am frequently found typing and laughing and swearing under my breath while consuming endless cups of hot caffeine.
I sometimes dream in WordPress and that my life is an endless post written in bold italicswith accompanying pictures.
I will at times during the night wake up and start spontaneously giggling at an especially funny blog post I read earlier in the day.
Two words: “The Forums”
Fretting over the “Publishing Accident” earlier and looking like a complete idiot to 125 subscribers.
Doing all of the above and having a blast!
“There is a pleasure sure in being mad, which none but madmen know!”
I must confess that at times I can have quite the idealised version of life, events and people. I freely admit this. It can be embarrassing, mostly it goes unnoticed but this last week it took me to places I have never been to before.
I noticed an ad in the newspaper. The back cover of a questionable kind of weekly that one can pick up for free around town. It was in bold print and in large letters:
“Liberalactivists needed” I could not believe my eyes. This was one of those moments where you just know the hand of destiny is involved reaching out to guide you. I knew it instantly that this was for me.
I must confess again I am a political junkie nut, at least I was in my idealistic youth. I have since gone to pasture and seed in my garden, I have grown slow and complacent, this I admit. My flowers and flowery words have softened me.
I have longed to get back into the mix of things and shake off some of these middle-aged mom doldrums.
I am a sucker for that democracy thing. I admit that too. I am a rebel at heart and I believe in the power of the people. I imagined my life as a future liberal activist.
Working for a good cause with a good bunch of people, activists like me. Maybe I’d be advocating for the environment or children or the elderly. Maybe I could make a small difference and earn a little extra money while I’m at it. How perfect is that?! I was so excited. It seemed so right. So damn democratic. My red, white and blueness was swelling with a new-found pride. Sure, the system isn’t perfect, but we need to change from within and all this noble gobbledygook ran through my Pollyanna-ish and earnest imagination.
I imagined hobnobbing with local politicians, meeting and conferring with political pundits and strategists, heads of state, dignitaries and great minds from around the world. Gaining valuable insight. Impressing my new-found important friends with my brilliant political mind. Soon I’d attract the attention of higher-ups, who knows, maybe someday….
I showed up for my interview two days later, bright-eyed and ready for action. My pockets were full of black bic pens and a cool new pink phone and breath mints. My hopes were high.
I do have to say I was surprised. I imagined something quite different when I saw the office. I thought the democrats were loaded. This place was humble for sure and disorganized. I smiled and thought maybe I could help here too.
Everyone was stressed and a bit off.
Of course this was the hand of destiny again. They needed my help. I knew it. It was the easiest job interview I have ever been to. I was made for this and I couldn’t wait to show my new employer just what an active activist I would be. My head was swimming with ambition.
Part Three: Cold Reality
And now for something completely different as I find myself on a soggy street corner in the pouring rain in an overpriced ritzy part of town with a clipboard wearing an old tie-dye, a smile and loads of enthusiasm.
I look for my people, my fellow concerned citizens, fellow taxpayers and democratic cohorts, where are they? I scan the silent streets, all I hear is rain. Drip, drip, drip all over my glossy photos and donkey propaganda.
Was this the hand of fate again? perhaps. Stupidity on my part? Yes. Stupidity on the Democrats part? For sure. But the truth of the matter it seemed was that despite all my idealism and earnestness, I couldn’t make someone care who doesn’t and that some people can be downright mean and nobody likes anyone with a clipboard and a cause in the rain no matter how enthusiastic that person pretends to be.
So I am swimming again this time in reality, finally understanding why this job was so easy to get…..I yearn for warmth and caffeine with whipped milk…. for a smiling face, for easy listening music and overpriced coffee cake…yes, that’s it! Starbucks!
I look around..and believe it or not, and this fact is difficult to believe but there is not a Starbucks on every street like it seems. To get to the promised land I would have to leave my assigned area and forge out to the great unknown to find what I needed so badly: A Chai Latte and some sanity…
Dare to Dream
So I embark, clipboard in tow and with my mood improving. I scan the streets for my heart’s desire……and there…. he is! No, not my heart’s desire, but the man who saved me that day. There he was pouring his heart out on the street corner, his cute little pointed hat stood proudly on his tiny head. His face clenched with concentration and fear mixed with pure ecstasy. His violin sputtered and creaked a painful sounding “Somewhere over the rainbow.” I stopped and listened, I almost started to cry.
There he was putting himself out there, following a dream perhaps or maybe just trying to make a fast buck on the side. Whatever it was his obvious lack of any musical talent or ability whatsoever didn’t get in the way of his soul. I could hear it. It was beautiful and it buoyed my spirits.
I saw it as a sign. I gave the little man a dollar and with that act, my luck seemed to change and rather abruptly. The sun broke through the clouds.
I could hear Judy Garland, urging me on….telling me….”Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream, Really do come true.”
Oh what a gift is music. It is but a simple thing, these sounds we call music.
Music is color. It paints pictures in my mind, sweeping vistas and tragic landscapes, rolling hills of green. Tender dewdrops on a petal soft rose, the rush of a thousand rivers to the silent sparkle of newly fallen snow.
Lush, electric and alive. Intoxicating, liberating and primal. It is emotion. Raw and simple, plain and beautiful.
Music wraps itself in fond memory and instantly transports me back in time. Music can stimulate. It forces yet gently prods to emotional highs and bittersweet lows.
Music is powerful. It is bold and commanding yet subtle with soft whispers and gentle kisses promising the foreverness of love and the joy of life. It is uplifting. It is strong, brave and true.
It is a necessity and my life would be hollow without it.
What landscapes do these songs create in your mind?
I dug in the dirt today. It was nice to get back into the soil after a long winter. I feel a profound connectedness to the natural world and it is in this sort of work that emphasizes that to me. I feel the pulsating energy of life bursting out in all directions. It is a comforting presence this wild sentience of the natural world.
It is an ancient wisdom this knowledge of the land. Our ancestor’s once relied on this essential knowledge of the earth. Progress of modern civilization has left most people especially city dwellers unnaturally detached from the natural world.
Exposure to the nature was once so commonplace, but times have changed and we’ve changed with them.
Are we losing our naturalness?
In his book “The Nature Principle’ Richard Louv calls it Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv defines nature deficit disorder as an atrophied awareness and a diminished ability to find meaning in the life that surrounds us.
The author explains and quite passionately that “The traditional ways that humanshave experienced nature are vanishing.” which greatly affects our health and well-being. He evokes The Nature Principle which states “that a reconnection to the natural world is fundamental to human health, well-being and survival.”
Louv sites example after example of scientific studies backing up his well thought out claim. He brings up the validity of green exercise and it’s proven enhancement of mood and self-esteem while reducing feelings of anger and depression.
Louv refers to a study which found that humans living in landscapes that lack trees or other natural features undergo patterns of social, psychological and physical breakdowns that are similar to those observed in animals that have been deprived of their natural habitat.
This should be of no surprise to any animal of the human variety reading this.
I remember growing up in the Seventies and Eighties. I remember being outside, if the weather was nice, we’d be outside all day. The streets and yards and parks were full of kids running and playing. These days it seems that all the kids are inside, tapping on one screen or another. With all the good that the digital age has brought, we have paid for it; this pixel existence we call progress.
We are losing our natural intelligence; knowing the signs of nature. Nature is becoming quite unnatural for many of us, myself included.
Where once our ancestors roamed the wild land, living as one with the planet in an equitable balance with natural world, modern humans set out to conquer and conquer we have. We control our physical surroundings to the point to where we can bring day to night and water and life to where none exists.
Humans have progressed out beyond the Earth. We can harness the power of the microscopic and the macroscopic. We have cured diseases and built bridges and dams and power plants….We are a powerful race with much to accomplish, and much to lose.
We have polluted ourselves and our world, always in a constant battle of who will control: humankind or nature. Now nature is fighting back and I can only wonder and hope for the best.
And I do hope for the best and I do have hope for the future. I see it in the eyes of a child fascinated with a ladybug in the backyard, a teenager taking water samples at a local restoration project. I see it in the experienced hands of the citizen gardener, the urban naturalist and the amateur botanist. There are success stories, more and more everyday.
We all share this love for nature and it’s up to us, each one of us to get back what we have lost, restore our naturalness and teach our children how to coexist with technology and nature together. These concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive.
I recommend reading this excellent book “the Nature Principle” by Richard Louv and then get moving, even if it’s a five-minute walk in the neighborhood, it’s a start and all it takes is that first step to get going…. better yet bring a friend and save our naturalness one step and one friend at a time.
When I started this blog back in August of last year I had no idea what a rich community of people I would be meeting and getting to know through blogs and communications. I have found myself looking forward to chatting it up with some of my newly found blog buddies. Many of you have shared of yourself. Some of you quite a lot. I have found your stories to be funny and creative, inspiring and insightful, and sometimes quite sad but always hopeful. I have seen myself in some of your words and I have been bettered by them.
I have also been inspired by you all to share something of myself.
What follows is a post I did way back last September. At the time I think I really needed to write it but I wasn’t ready to share with anyone. Soon after I posted, I buried this deep in a sea of bad navigation and a flurry of others. I don’t think anyone saw it. At the time I was relieved. Now I have reconsidered.
Those who know me by my blog alias; Strawberryindigo, may be surprised by the following post and then again maybe not, but for those who know me by Nancy, the following may explain much……
I worry about our future. I wonder if our machines will become more natural to us than our own humanness. I see it time and time again and more and more all the time. People ignoring one another in public. Turning the other way. Looking right past a person, almost denying someone’s existence.
I see people on their phones. Talking away to some distant person, ignoring the one in front of them. Be it the checker who’s bagging your groceries, the person at the counter of the post office, your dinner companions.
I see these space cadets walking down the street, in the street, eyes cast down on their little box of insanity. Ignoring the real world of real people, real streets with real cars on them. Engrossed in some distraction on the screen, some vitally important game or text that cannot wait. People endlessly texting or tapping or something or another. Thumbs flipping away, eyes glazed over, mind placid and unchallenged.
We are an instant generation. Our ancestors were forced to have patience. Life generally works that way. But we humans have perverted the system. What used to take time and hard work, now takes an instant. The minute itself stretches and contracts depending on the situation. We are a race that can spend hours upon hours, slack-jawed staring at a screen and still have a hard time waiting 60 seconds for a convenience store burrito.
How much have we lost already? We of the quick and convenient. That human knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Homespun talents. Hardscrabble necessities. How to grow your own food, how to darn a sock, make a quilt, pluck a chicken.
And knowledge of a more ancient wisdom: The healing power of plants, the power of belief and living at one with the earth instead of against it; as if it were some sort of adversary. The power to walk in the woods without making a sound or leaving a trace.The wild arts. How to make a fire, how to live off the land.
I know its easy for me to say; to judge. Do I have any of these practical talents? Not really. Beyond my urbanized knowledge of plants and animals through books and gardening in my backyard, I am pretty much useless in the real woods. If I were stranded alone in the true wilderness, the odds would be against me.
Our human civilization, our very existence is dependant on “progress”. Always upward and onward. Always a new hill or people to conquer. A mountain to climb, a resource to be exploited. We have colonised, revolutionised and lost our sights and priorities, maybe even our collective minds as we rape and pillage and steal from the future generations, who will have no choice but to try to live in the mess we’ll leave behind.
We have lost our way. We are losing our humanity. We are losing our collective soul, we are losing ourselves. And it is ourselves who we need to conquer not nature.
This reckless attitude we humans have taken toward nature. This need to be dominant over nature, this very human need to conquer no longer serves us as it once had. Nature is fighting back. All the lies and ad campaigns can no longer hide this from us. We are “progressing” ourselves right down the road to extinction. Is this our future? Many believe it is.
It seems the one’s in charge on this planet are in race to use up what is left and get it all before everyone else can. Our beautiful Planet Earth has become a commodity, for sale to the highest bidder. But our planet, our mother, belongs to us all.
We are being sold outand generations upon generations will hate us for it. They will ask why. Why did we just sit back and let this all happen? What will our answer be?
“America was once a paradise of timberland and stream but it is dying because of the greed and money lust of a thousand little kings who slashed the timber all to hell and would not be controlled and changed the climate and stole the rainfall from posterity.” **Don Marquis (1935)**