The ‘what should be’ never did exist, but people keep trying to live up to it. There is no ‘what should be,’ there is only what is.
~ Lenny Bruce
In every age “the good old days” were a myth. No one ever thought they were good at the time. For every age has consisted of crises that seemed intolerable to the people who lived through them.
~ Brooks Atkinson
Nostalgia. From two Greek words. Nostos meaning returns home or homecoming, and algos meaning pain. Nostos was the theme of “The Odyssey,” Odysseus wanting to find his way back home. I think people forget the ending of that story and that all was not as Odysseus left it when he went off to war.
I have friends, acquaintances, and family members who yearn for a golden past, a past that might not have existed beyond what they see in their mind’s eye. I sometimes wonder if I am not romantic enough or imaginative enough for nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong. I love singing along to an old song or occasionally slipping into an old memory. It’s just that I don’t see it as being better than the present moment. It’s true there are all kinds of things wrong in the present world, but there are also all kinds of wonderful things in the present world.
I wonder if nostalgia, especially the nostalgia that has slipped into our politics, is a result of continuing to see things through the lens of childhood. A kind of Peter Pan sickness. I’ve read article after article about how those who are most likely to vote for an authoritarian are those who want to be told what is right and what is wrong and what to do. They are looking for a parent, so to speak. I can see how that might be true of some folks I know. Adulthood, and the responsibilities of adulthood, can be so hard. It’s something I think a lot of us want to escape from time to time.
There is another way to see nostalgia:
Nostalgia is not indulgence. Nostalgia tells us we are in the presence of imminent revelation, about to break through the present structures held together by the way we have remembered: something we thought we understood but that we are now about to fully understand, something already lived but not fully lived, issuing not from our future but from something already experienced; something that was important, but something to which we did not grant importance enough, something now wanting to be lived again, at the depth to which it first invited us but which we originally refused. Nostalgia is not an immersion in the past, nostalgia is the first annunciation that the past as we know it is coming to an end.
~ David Whyte, Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
I like to think, to hope, that we are on the verge of some kind of breakthrough. I recently heard someone say that maybe we’re in the midst of another Enlightenment but being in the midst of it, we can’t see it.
Spring has been crazy this year. Everything has been growing so fast and furious. A few weeks ago the cherry trees were weighed down with blossoms. Now they are filled with small fruit. The peonies, irises, and roses have more blooms than I’ve seen in the time we’ve been here.
Mother Nature appears to be in a hurry to show us all the wonders of spring.
I’m not sure we’ll get a vegetable garden in this year. We’re hoping to have some grading in front of the pond done, and want to use the dirt from that in the garden. But this is the Eastern Shore and we’re on Eastern Shore time which means the guy will show up when he shows up. We got an estimate from one guy two years ago, and another from another guy just a month or so ago. It remains to be seen who will show up first. We might still be waiting next year. Or the year after that.
In the meantime, the weather continues to warm, the grass grows, and maybe I’ll use some of the big pots in the greenhouse and grow some tomatoes on the deck this year. It’s better than nothing at all. We did plant lettuces in the long planter on the deck, something we did last year and it worked out really well. All I have to do is walk out the back door to pick some. Laziness is no excuse, and I often need that sort of thing to keep from making excuses.
I reckon that’s about it from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch on this cloudy Saturday. There is rain on the way, possibly thunderstorms. It’s been darkening outside throughout the afternoon and it looks like it will be here soon. I don’t think we’ll see the sunset but if we did, it would be at 8:03 PM and I’d suggest we watch from the Point where the breeze will be helpful. I’ll keep an eye out and meet you there if things change.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂 And in case I don’t get back here tomorrow, Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,066) The beauty of spring. 1,067) The scent of peonies. 1,068) The end of asparagus season (because I’ve had my fill!). 1,069) The way learning grows on you long after you’ve taken a class or course. 1,070) All the possibilities, and the places where they converge.