Sunday, October 26, 2014

Reminiscing the constants

One morning I recognized the song of a bird I had always heard sing since I was a little boy growing up in the village herding cattle during school holidays. It sounded exactly the same as it did those many years ago and at that moment, my mind raced through time pulling out memories consistent with that bird song. It is rare to hear a distinct bird song in a built up urban area, and in the hustle and bustle of a city where everyone is always in a rush, coupled with the blinkers that the city gives one. I realized how priceless a moment it was for me just listening to that bird sing. Many things have changed since the time I used to hear this bird sing when I was young. I have grown and changed in many ways in terms of stature, goals, dreams, aspirations and circumstances, but the way I felt when I heard that bird sing seemed to resonate as unchanged within me. I reminisced through time and space hearing voices, seeing faces and places corresponding to the song.

That's just the way it is
Some things will never change, as Bruce Hornsby and Tupac sang in "The way it is" and "Changes" respectively, however as much as they confirm my assertions, they would both be shocked to see the changes that have occurred in the world, particularly relating to the issues they sang about, with more tolerance being the general norm in the vast of communities and with respect to many areas of society. There are certain food items which you know for their special 'distinct original taste' and when you crave for them you expect that exact taste and no other. People often say 'just like my mama or grandma used to make it'. What role do changing tastes play if people still desire old school tastes from when they were younger? Does taste change with time because everything changes also? Coca cola has become famous for its secret beverage formula/ingredient distinct from any other and if you were to want to drink a coke you would specifically ask for a coca cola and not just something similar. Think of flora and fauna, the way flowers brighten up a room, the jacaranda trees lining up a street in spring or the way a dog barks, a cock crows, cow moos or a bird sings. There is a certain consistency to these elements of life since creation, and I believe we implicitly enjoy the status-quo without eagerly expecting changes and we do not even need to think about it. The way the sun rises and sets or the day starts and ends. Change is talked about as both a necessity and an inevitable in today's world, but I am glad we also accept that there are constants we should maintain. Those things that have not changed through time, since we have known them. The consistent variables that have carried on though time the same way and which serve as foundations and beacons of life.

Experiencing history

National Museum of African Art
Many people, including fellow writers and bloggers have travelled sometimes on flat tires and slow boats to places of interest and heritage sites just to adore and immerse themselves in culture, art, history and creativity that perhaps would not be seen had it not been preserved by others watching over it. The museums, art galleries and world heritage sites which carry beauty and art that was, before we were and will be for years to come, given acts of parliament passed to preserve them. These now remain as constants of our humanity which in itself possesses components that change all the time. The only lobbying that happens is for these historic components of life to be strongly preserved as many enjoy their consistency. The constants are constants only as far as we make efforts to preserve them for future generations. 'Man' has therefore realized that certain constants of life become extinct if not preserved, think rhino for a moment and the ongoing efforts to save them.  In Egypt King Tutankhamun's tomb was undisturbed for 3,000 years and remained intact, but in the 90 years since its discovery, the ancient burial chamber has deteriorated abruptly as a result of tourist visits. Now an exact replica of Tutankhamun's tomb has been created as a way to preserve the original which will now be locked away as it was weathering and depreciating too quickly due the breathing of masses of tourist visitors affecting the atmosphere in the chambers. While this defeats the whole point of having history and culture, it is a matter of principle necessary to ironically maintain the same history intact that now cannot be seen in its original state. Everyone loves the constants of life and pays a price to experience them. These constants have a way of reminding us of our roots and history as well as background including people who come into and out of our lives. Besides the cliché "the only constant in the world today is change", what is your view on change in light of the above? Could change be overrated in today's world and do you have something within your life which you long would remain constant and never change?

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