Walk in the Woods

Repairs in Park, Amsterdam © Jim Korpi

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”
-Henry David Thoreau

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I questioned my nephew as we drove to the hospital to see his newest born brother. The question came from a mix of curiosity in what a child these days would answer and not knowing what else to talk about with a seven-year-old on an hour-long car ride.

“I’m not an adult yet,” he responded. “So I don’t really have to know that.”

From the mouths of babes his father would have said. From the mouth of innocence pours truth.

What do we want to be when we grow up?

In this struggling economy we are confronted with the truths of existence; for some the struggle is a forced journey. When six years of college seemed to be a movement towards growing up, we realized there is no place for us where we thought there was.

Cultures from around the world value a leaving, or journey. Aborigines call it a “walkabout.” Walking away from the naiveté of our adolescence, we are able to better understand the path of our ancestors and envision our own future as adults in the world. Without such journeys we forfeit self-reliance, turn in our timecards of compliance and allow adulthood to resemble extended breastfeeding.

Today few of us are plugged into factories with their demanding bosses looking over shoulders for efficiencies, much like Kings looking from their turrets for their taxes. Gone are factories. Gone are 9-5s with benefits.

While past decades were spent dazed in the glow of computer screens, there has been a rebirth of forests, flowing of streams, and return of the wild. Slowly we are becoming aware of what the Kings of our day have done to the landscape and our potential.

Will we wait for the drilling men to place us in jobs of the New Energy Economy while they pump poisons beneath our boots? Will we line up at the doors of tech barons wasting our time entombed in fluorescent tubes only to trade our days on factory floors for the numbing monkey business of data entry and cost analysis?

How will we grow up?

Posted September 12th, 2012 in Uncategorized.

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