Saturday, June 19, 2010

19 June 1956 “Fishing in Time’s River and Esthetics: How Much are they Part of Time?”

Today I have thought of Thoreau’s words:
“Time is but the stream I go fishing in. I drink at it, but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. It’s thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”
Certainly the meaning for me may be different than what he had in mind, but the overall affect of not being to concerned about the past and present actually does seem to be relevant to me. Odd, that I should say such a thing when you think how much the past has come to me, but I don’t think I am truly ‘trapped’ there. Rather the opposite, really, for having set myself the task of being ‘trapped’ in a year in the past, my whole Future and perception of my Present has opened up and changed. By treating Time like a river into which I can toss my line, as it were, and snag out fish of interest has allowed me a perspective that puts me on the banks of time. I can watch it rush by me or look down and see the source of the stream or toward the horizon and peer into what rapids or turns in the river might lie ahead. I even sometimes feel I have fashioned a raft and Huckleberry Finned my way about wondering at the way things are today. Rather they are right or wrong, much as Finn did with his good friend Joe and what was to happen to him when they touched shore, I happily cast my line and only reel in and keep that which I choose.
I know this month has seen me very little up0n this screen. Time, too, has such an elastic quality when one can immerse themselves in the home. It makes me realize the 50’s housewife probably didn’t quite understand her hippy daughter away at college explaining to her how she was ‘wasting her time’ and ‘letting her youth get taken away’. When one is ‘at home’, as I am, and is filled both with the work of it (and it is work) but also reveling in the very creative joy of nesting and gardening, sewing and creating, it can be a timeless place. I am sure the old homemakers of yore never felt their time was a wasted endeavor (those who did not feel trapped by it of course, if one is called to be a doctor or lawyer, then by all means go free) when they had enjoyed themselves along the way.
I think today modern people tend to measure their ‘success’ or how far they have come by how much they have accumulated. I think I once heard, “whomever has the most toys at the end, wins” not a surprising mantra in our age of materialism and consumerism. But, really, when one measure life and its accomplishments in the moment, you can see how silly this incessant drive to have things can be. If I am blissful as I prepare a meal, try out a new recipe, feel accomplished in the arrangement of the table and meal I have prepared, even if only my hubby and I see it, is it less valid? When one can learn to measure their happiness, contentment and joy in the moment ( and that includes reveling in your moments prepared by you earlier, such as breaking the seal on that jam you set last fall) this anxious rush to buy and need goes away. Why shout at the shop girl because they don’t have your new gizmo. Why feel the need to keep going out and buying the next cell phone, the new i-Pad, every new thing, just tossing aside what you have replaced it with. We can be like big children so interested in the next toy, we just let drop our beloved toy of only moments ago. But, we are not children, we are (or are suppose to be) adults.
So, my excuse, if I am indeed making one, is that I have found my moments strung together like lovely little pearls and I have not wanted to break their pattern for then they might fall to the floor. But, I must also remember to stop and share with all of you as well.
My garden is growing rather nicely. I sprayed by grapes and hopefully they will make it, if not then next year I will be prepared for the bugs. The garden is such a good lesson in patience and our need to prepare and wait. Another reason, that as we have moved away from the land and the garden, it is natural that we should be so impatient. When our food is frozen and nuked in minutes, who understands patience?
My chickens are growing rather large. They have moved to their intermediary pen, as I finish up their final home. We have one very friendly little pullet (future hen) we call Buttons ( as she is intent on removing any button on your clothing when you hold her) and she always manages to get out. But, I don’t worry, because she is so tame, she merely lets herself out and then wanders the yard as I am gardening or working on my construction. My dogs, of course, love her and when my Italian Greyhound gets too feisty, buttons merely turns and pecks, as if to say, “To me, you are just one big button to be removed” and then continues on her way, scratching and eating slugs and bugs.
I think I will leave you with these pictures of what is considered the latest in beautiful for bathrooms. Then, lets ponder, how much of our personal esthetic is simply derivative of the time in which we live. Are we So connected to our media and advertising that our very desires for what we consider ‘beautiful’ today really just the dictates of the latest magazines, tv shows, internet? Even those of us who are now incessantly trying to recreate a vintage home, is that a new to buy up and own a time we respect? It is the simple solution that we are used to? We have so much at our fingertips and so much or our life is instantaneous, do we think we can buy up the honor and respect of a time gone by through acquisition? I don’t know, I have struggled with this thought’s as I have had my own esthetics thrown about these past two years. I find my style or desire change and then I look at some older modern magazines I like with interiors ( as an experiment) and soon found my tastes returning again. It is interesting to ponder, none-the-less.
And I am not placing any value judgment on it, right or wrong, but it does become interesting when you begin to dissect ‘why you like this or that style’.  It does seem to have greatly influenced our 1950’s counterparts, as many of the bathrooms I see in magazines look like the Before in a modern magazine today. Do we really find these ugly? Do we simply change our tastes, supposedly a core element in ‘who we are’ by the subconscious accumulation of information that we are bombarded with in the modern age? What do you think? Is your esthetic from your parents? Your teachers? Someone you admire or a great house you love? Or do you know really know why you gravitate toward one thing or another. Interesting to think about.
bathroom1 bathroom2 bathroom3 I thought I would throw in two living rooms as well for us to consider why we might find it ugly or not.  The second has a much more current modern feel due to its technique of keeping to almost two colors with only white accents. livingroom1  livingroom
Until next time, Happy Homemaking.
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