Thursday, January 8, 2009

Whitman's Complaint

Walt Whitman wrote consistently and conscientiously. However, one of his major concerns was constipation. He was always afraid that it would show up in his writing as he felt it affected his ideas and inspiration. That would be funny, but I look at the world around me and wonder what particular malady is affecting our society and its significant aspects: economy--now is that constipation or diarrhea? Morality: definitely diarrhea. But what about our ability to hear what is being said? What part of our body is attempting to tell us something? Somehow I don't think it has anything to do with the alimentary canal. Maybe it is closer to the other end of the body.

The ancients believed that man was affected by four distinct influences that were associated with fire, earth, water, and wind. But back then, men were nearer to the sources of those four elements. Today we would have to get outside and away from the artificiality of life as we know it. Fang takes the boys out in the back yard and lights a fire in the firepit so that they can know what it is like to start a fire and get to (safely) play in it. When we were children we started fires well beyond the confines of a nice little metal pit. But laws protect our neighbors from our stupidity or carelessness and we have to use this pit now. At least we can let the kids play in the rain and dig in the dirt. Since this is Texas, the wind is a given. I have been caught in sand storms that chapped my cheeks and burned my hands where I held the horse's reins. But that is another story and another way of life. I can only wish for our grandchildren the joys of being on their own with a half ton of gentle giant and a blowing Texas storm.

No, Whitman's complaint can't be the answer for our way of life. It is not our alimentary canals or even our sinuses that cause us to be grouchy or whatever. Life has just changed and we no longer make good connections to the natural world around us. So we adjust to the technological and the biological without benefit of the joys that we used to have in nature. It's time to remember those joys before they are totally forgotten. Somehow the memories must be saved for some who will need them most. Getting out the old quill pen....rolling eyes at the thought of having to make ink work for me...


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