A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Times They Are A'Changing

The world is changing and that is not always a bad thing. A generation that grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars, with a universe inhabited by strange and fabulous beings, does not bat an eye at a human that is a different color or has a different preference in a life partner than what used to be considered acceptable. Why would they? Society has evolved over the thousands of years of human life and it will continue to evolve. As it should. Who among us wants to go back and live in the dark ages, even the relatively recent dark ages? Each generation leaves their mark behind in moving us along to a greater understanding of our fellow beings. (Photo - Famous blues club Antone's and newer Frost Bank Tower behind it in Austin, Texas)

The original Star Trek series came out when I was in high school. Before that there were stories and ideas of rockets and space travel. But Star Trek brought it to life for us. It showed an acceptance of other life forms as a given, not as a bold and brave idea by a portion of the human race. As the original series was followed by the next generation of space travelers, more and more beings from other places were incorporated into the crew. All adding to the richness of an ever expanding universe. And all being accepted as “normal” and “natural” by the humans in the series and those following it.

Before Star Trek, the cowboy and the mountain man was our hero, boldly going where no “white” man had gone before. He came into contact with humans of a different color and a different lifestyle. In order for both societies to survive, they had to evolve into a common society that was different than either of the separate ones had been before. Some things were lost and some were gained. But things had to change in order for both to survive. 

(Photo - From a time gone by, a braid of hair used as a handle for a piece of ceramic vase. I found this on our property and we are still trying to find the pieces of the vase.)

As we could look back upon these times with hindsight, the character of many of these men going west, and the men they met, was rewritten in books and movies to make them seem more noble than they were. This was regrettable because we should look at things as they were and not clean them up. It was what it was, and it should be taught that way in history class. 

But in another way it showed, I think, that we wished it had been different. We wished the cultures had been more accepting of each other and not distrustful and hateful to others because they were different. By going into the future with Star Trek and Star Wars, we were able to create humans and a universe as we wanted it to be. Where our opinion of other beings was based on their behavior and we never even seemed to notice if they had a big ridged forehead or were covered with fur.

Society is now evolving, as it always has, and some people find that hard to accept. They want to hang on to a way of life as they know it and as they believe it to be right. They often say things like well, our forefathers wanted it this way. But our forefathers lived in a different world then. What worked for them doesn’t always work for us. Some of the things they did horrify us today, such as slavery, burning people at the stake, and making people of color use a different restroom. We can’t go back to that time, and most of us would surely not want to.

(Photo - Will my youngest grandchild Bixby, in the photo with me, see as many changes in his lifetime as my grandmother saw in hers?)

I look out my back window this morning and Woodrow and Gus are lying down in the sun on the side of the hill. They are about 30 yards apart facing each other and their heads nod as they nap after a night of grazing. For them, life appears unchanged from 100 years ago. As a person enthralled with the cowboy image of the 1800s, I love this picture I see of them. This glimpse of a way of life mostly gone now. But out here in the Texas Hill Country, and in other parts of the country, we can have some of the good parts of that life still, without having the bad parts of it. (This photo is of Rickie and Gus and Woodrow a couple of years back.)

And while we may mourn for a way of life lost, remembering the good and forgetting the bad, we can’t stop time. It marches on. 

“It’s your world now, use well your time, be part of something good, leave something good behind. The curtain falls, I take my bow, that’s how it’s meant to be, it’s your world now.” Eagles 

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