Monday, August 24, 2009

3 Observations of City-Dwellers in Natural Lands

This weekend about two dozen of us traveled northward to Wisconsin just to get out of the crazy city for a couple days. Whether one is in school or not, the end of August always seems to be a transitory time for many, so this weekend was wonderful for us to retreat and rest before the storms of life rage.

In our brief time there I made three keen observations (well I think they're keen, but you can judge for yourself. Sidenote: Can someone bring back "keen" as an adjective not to describe something one does, but who someone is? "Gee, you're keen." It'd be real swell if someone could do that.)

  1. You know you've got a bunch of people from the city when at night, pitch dark, in the middle of nowhere, the only thing you have for a flashlight is either the backlight to your phone or the Flashlight iPhone app. Someone says, "Anyone have a flashlight? I can't see." Someone else responds with, "Hold on, I do. I've just got to pull out my phone." Then there's the awkward, repeated need for the person to push the buttons on the phone in order to keep the light at maximum power. This is where the person with the iPhone steps in with, "Put that weak flip phone away. I've got a flashlight on my phone! I don't need to press buttons all the time like you." This is another way iPhones are better, Apple is genius, the App Store dominates, and we are idiots. However, the Zippo app just might make you look cool in that situation. Nope. Nevermind.

  2. City-dwellers like to kill everything within a two foot radius of them. We were sitting outside by a small body of water, reeds dancing as if the wind was playing music. We were surround by trees as we looked out over the water into the distant, green hills. In a group we spent some time in prayer, much of the time in silence; a few folk prayed out loud. During some of those times my ears would perk up to the sound of a foot stomping the ground. I'd look back to catch a glimpse of that same foot twisting in the dirt as if putting out a cigarette. I knew it wasn't a cigarette because they don't allow smoking on the grounds and he's a Christian and Christians would never smoke. I wisely deduced that this person (who shall remain nameless) was killing woodland creatures of some sort. This happened a few times and got me thinking about all the times in the short span we were there that people freaked out at the sight of a bee or a spider 1) as if these critters aren't already in the city and 2) as if the critters in the woods somehow have the power themselves to kill with a sting or a slight touch to the skin. And of course, like with all things unknown, the most logical step to take is to kill them.

  3. During that same time out by the water I found it ironic that some of the most ardent environmentalists and eco-friendly advocates live in cities. Cities made of lifeless slabs of concrete and cold, hard steel. You are aware that in order to make the city from which you battle for all-things-green that there once was open land and free roaming for both person and creature alike, that there was real green before being "green" became a symbol for activism and dare I say elitism? I have no problem with trying to be good stewards of the environment in which we live; in fact, I hope we are all living "green" in some way. I'm just saying we should do so with some humility, understanding that our paved roads (however craptastic), walk-ups, sushi restaurants, and Starbucks haven't always been there.

No comments:

Post a Comment