Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Utopia



So to change the subject back to simpler times...I give you Ohio, again. This first photo was taken as I drove through a state park during a misty rain. The colours do not come close at all to the rich greens and of course there isn't any scent on the screen so you can't tell how absolutely wonderful the woods smelled as I drove slowly through this part of the country, just a bit east of Kirtland. Gorgeous! I was quite taken by, number one (duh) the absence of hills, mountains or general large bumps in the landscape. Number two, the lush green foliage that just sprouts out of every inch of land unmaintained and unattended to. Spontaneous growth amazes this Mojave Desert chick...I was visually dazzled!

Second photo was taken in a little town that I had to drive through to get into a small Amish community just around the corner. Without my notes I am afraid I cannot remember the town's name, grrr. However I was immediately struck by the resemblance, however coincidental, to the town that is in "Back to the Future" complete with the town clock tower as in this photo. The center of town had the same little grassy mall, complete with white gazebo band stand and surrounded by the town square. There was a movie theatre at the end of the block as in the movie and small shops circling the square, plus in just the correct place, a malt shop/diner. If this isn't where the movie was filmed it was certainly the inspiration for the set at Universal Studios. Either way, this little town was typical to most of the older towns I encountered there. Simple life at it's best, and of course, magically green and filled with colourfull flowers and luscious trees.

As I drove from Kirtland out to the John Johnson farm, just 20+ miles away the country side was amazingly beautiful. Streams and small rivers crossed the highway so many times I gave up counting them. Fields of wild flowers between the fields being used by farmers to grow all manner of fruit on trees, and row after row of corn, hay, and smaller low growing crops. Tidy, smartly groomed farm houses, bright white with colourful roofs, doors and window shutters. Grass lawns that roll from home to home unimpeded by fences. Occasional buggies would mark the Amish farms, as would the black, midnight blue, and lavender clothes hanging to dry on the line just off sides of the house. I wove my way through tiny hamlets of 200 to 400 towns people. These little towns welcoming passersby with a block or two of shops and stores made of white clapboard and brightly coloured doors. Benches and rockers line the walk ways and, as our traveling companion noted the day he rode with us, the classic cars that seemed to be everywhere would make any young man drool with envy.

I guess my main impression was the green peacefulness that was constant for miles. The way the country side appeared to have stayed un-wrestled over the last 100 years, unblemished and untarnished by modernism or the conveniences of our day. Sure, they had all we have here in CA. It's was just left in proper perspective in this little neck of the woods.

As the events of last week still haunt me, all of us I guess;- I can't help but remember those peaceful few days when I thought of how lovely it was to be in a place that respected the values of quiet repose; and honoured the traditions of differing beliefs while living across the street from your neighbor in peace. The warm feeling of a community without fences; and the perfect blend of simplicity among the modern made the few days spent there a lasting memory of nostalgia for a time I have never lived. Tolerance is not something to be learned or applied with a mental note every day but something that has been so inbred that it does not need a reminder; it comes as naturally to those towns-people as does breathing. This is where we all want our children to grow up.

The problem is all of our children do not grow up in a Utopian society. We (adults) do not live in a Utopian society. Our neighborhood now suffers from severe classism, racism, gangs, nearby prisons, political agendas, and many other common calamities that plague "normal" life for most of us. The key is being able to make our own "acreage" (even if that "acreage" is a one room studio in a 5 story walk up) as close to Utopia as possible. To get rid of our familial fences. To plant the kinds of fruit that will yield not just this year, but through the eternities. As any farmer knows, plants need daily care, weeding, correct pruning and staking, fertilizer, and watering. If we want good fruit we need to pay attention. The house needs to be taken care of, maintained and groomed. The need for modern convenience needs to be balanced against the need to remain simple enough to enjoy what life brings and to act instead of reacting to what life teaches us. In a Utopian society one needs to have a good work ethic, integrity, honesty, and the abilty to enjoy life as it is; to be content with what we have.

What I am eluding to, all to ineptly, is if we want Utopia we need to make it ourselves. And make it on an everyday basis, continually year after year. We need to focus more on what is important and let go of what is not.

Years ago, in the midst of personal trial, I decided to make all my decisions based on what would matter in five years. "If I leave these dishes until my guests go home or even until tomorrow morning....will it matter in five years?" "If I take the office box of paper clips home for personal use...will it matter in five years?" "If I hold onto this grudge...will it matter in five years?"

Some of these questions can be answered both yes and no depending on my personal character, however, using my "five year" plan, I have been able to let some things go and pay much more regard to other decisions.

Utopia is a decision I made, it is there, deep in my heart. A desire that I believe is divine in seed. To make sure it becomes a reality I need to yearn for it every moment, and work it out in my daily routine. I need to want it not only for myself, but also for those with whom I share community. If I want this for my self and for my neighbors, then I have a much better chance of acting in such a way as to make my seed of Utopia grow to fruit.

I do not know if I am living in Utopia yet, however I have begun to pack boxes of my personal life in antiscipation of the move. I do know one thing: I am much happier now than I was 5 years ago. I antiscipate being much happier than I am now five years from today. That's my plan.

add to sk*rt

5 comments:

The Pea said...

That is the best plan I have heard in a long time

chronicler said...

I have seen a difference, I know that. Amazingly I remember mom saying it to me when I had been married about a year when I was stressing over something.

Good plan.

Yolanda said...

GREAT post! I love the lush picture of the road engulfed in the trees...

Lisa M. said...

Very beautiful.

I have come to that conclusion when it comes to Ethan and making decisions.

Will that matter in Five years.


I don't live in Utopia yet, but, I am convicned, someday....

You're so beautiful,S'mee, and I am gratful for our friendship.

I surly would not be the same with out it.

s'mee said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments and kind words. For the most part I am content. Life is good. Things go my way. But I do know that life can be/is difficult. Living in that 5 year plan helps me decide if disappointing one person over another is worth the hurt, passing up a great opportunity when something less fun needs to be done, and sometimes having those around me not understand why I do what I do.

I am gearing up for another one of life's lessons and seeing if I can pass the test. I think I know the material, but when you haven't been to school since way back when...you get nervous. One thing I know for sure is that there is much more beyond the 5 years that really matters. Focus is the key right now.

"Eyes on the prize Violet, eyes on the prize."