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A Place to Call Home

So as I was supposed to be sleeping last night I was pondering something (me not sleeping? shocking I know..lol). Not quite sure what this is, but if you make it to the end thank you reading J

Each of us reacts to the world and the people in it in various ways. Part of that is the way you are brought up, and part of it is you and your personality. Some of us are introverts, some are extroverts, and so when we meet new people, or are put into a new situation, we all react a little differently. I am an introvert, so I find meeting people and being in unusual situations stressful and awkward. I will either say nothing and try my best to escape, or be very abrupt, or blurt out too many things at once. I never know which one will happen until I open my mouth. Sometimes my thoughts are too fast for my speech to catch up and I normally end up confusing the hell out of people, or giving the impression I am a complete flake..lol Part of this is the fact that I live too much internally--as my brother and friends have told me more than once. Like many people, I cannot make it through the day without music, or burying myself in a book. I am an only child, so I spend almost half my life without good friends, but the universe has since fixed that, and I am eternally grateful.

I believe with so much new technology and ways to plug ourselves in we have lost something else: our connections to each other, having compassion/empathy for another being. I am as guilty as anyone of tuning out the world, and I do need to have some hermit time, or I go a little stir crazy;) I just worry that the more time we all spend burrowing into our computers and iPods the less time have for each other until we are all enclosed with no escape. To paraphrase the Dalai Lama nothing exists independently. We renew ourselves, and our creativity through experience, and I don’t think you can gain everything you need being plugged in. Don’t get me wrong, I have made many wonderful friends through cyberspace, but it also means that I would love to chat with them in person one dayJ

I don’t see unrestrained progress and expansion as a positive force. When we had smaller communities there was a sense of cooperation and concern for people and land that is lost as we engulf our surroundings. When I returned to the town I grew up in for an arts festival many years ago, after not having lived there for 14 years, someone asked me immediately if I was Darrell’s (my father’s) daughter. I was stunned, but that is a small community for you…lol

 We lose our sense of peace as we cover every inch of space with steel, and cookie-cutter houses. David Suzuki talks about the effect that going out to a park has on Japanese business men. Just a little time once a week away from a desk renewed their spirits, and lifted the depression and frustration of the day to day grind. We need beauty in our lives, and corporations and economists have left that out of their equations. Nothing is balanced, and those places we need to run to are disappearing.

 I grew up in Campbell River, on a little street that had a forest backing onto the houses on one side. My best friend and I spent most of our days in those woods, climbing trees, eating berries, and occasionally running from a startled black bear. My mother had a garden that she tried to keep the deer out of, and I brought salamanders, snakes, and frogs home in the summer. My aunt and uncle had (still do) a farm that ran right down to the beach, and the rest of my days and nights were spent there, riding, chasing chickens, and sleeping under stars beneath the eagle tree. Things have obviously changed so much in Campbell River since then, but at least the farm is intact. I miss the woods on Dolly Varden road though, and I wish other children could have the same experience I did.

When I saw Robert Bateman a while back he said he doesn’t think we should tell children about the Amazon rainforest destruction since kids today have enough stress of their own, but rather we should take them out into their own backyards, so that they care about places close by first, and the rest will follow.

I credit the time I spent In Campbell River with my concern and feeling for the world around me. When I was in high school, I wrote letters to Greenpeace and did a presentation once in English class on the cycle of pollution and its effects on the environment. While speaking in front of people petrified me, I was thrilled that my classmates and teacher asked questions and perhaps started a little research of their own. I just wanted to spread what I knew.

There is much to be said for technology making our lives easier, and simplifying tasks that used to take days, or months—like travel. I start to wonder though, when our lives are so automated that there is little for us to choose for ourselves. When we don’t have to expend any effort for the things we do, how do we value our lives, and do we appreciate the wonder around us?

The smaller the world becomes, and the easier it is to transmit information, it seems that things become a little claustrophobic. Privacy and space are becoming a thing of the past, and I think our emotional health is taking a toll. I am not sure what the answer to all of this is, but I know that rampant destruction and short-term thinking helps nothing in the end. When the world is more concerned with profit than its people, with progress rather than the life that sustains us, something is going to shatter. I know it has already begun.

All I can say in the end, is to do what you can--start small, and then see how what you do affects the people and areas around you. Begin with your own backyard, and hope that soon your neighbours will come out to play.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 11th, 2011 10:50 pm (UTC)
I think getting kids connected to their own backyards is very important and that green spaces keep us from imploding under the weight of the life we create for ourselves.
Feb. 12th, 2011 04:48 am (UTC)
I agree absolutely. Perfect metaphor:)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )