You can never go back. We’re here where we are and that’s the end of it. But, we can still get a feeling for what history at the human level gave to our forefathers.
Go to the country. Go to the rice paddies and the wheat fields and the threshing barns and the animal sheds. Sit if you can and try to think of what each passing day was like for our ancestors who had this as their daily view and daily sense of identity.
They were an extension of the land. They worked it as much as it worked them. There was a life of necessary balance requiring that what was taken out be put back. It was a whole different world than living in the 21st floor in a condominium linked to an unrecognizable ground by a stainless steel elevator.
A rural vacation is your chance to go farming in your own history, to avoid the world of Disneyland rocket museums and space fantasy rides and to become part of a whole different world with different pressures and different values and a very different way of thinking.
In most of our countries, in the early 1800’s, 60% of the population were rural. Lonely farms feeding tiny villages with a church and a school and a store feeding provincial towns with perhaps a restaurant, law office, a municipal court and a welcome bar.
Few lived in cities and for most of those who did, life was seen as brutal and short so a rural vacation is really a chance to find out what we were for all of history before the last 100 years. There was nothing romantic about the country life except for the Downton Abbey brigade and its ilk.
Working a team pulling logs or a plow or a wagon was tough dangerous work. Preparing food from absolute scratch everyday was a total commitment.
Almost any household chore with no electricity was consummately demanding but people had a relationship with the animals and the trees and crops and rivers with whom they shared their lives. There was no race through life to an old people’s home.
There was a family that started working as soon as they could walk and cared for their old folks until they cross the rainbow bridge.
Each generation had to find tasks and were respected for contributing within those expectations. So, a rural vacation is not only a chance to participate in some of the old farming chores but a chance to put yourself into the history you’ve grown from.
The country is a different world, a different life and a daily challenge in a totally different way than performing in an office or university or factory. Today, wer’e obsessed with physical fitness, a problem that sunrise to sunset farm folk were not very concerned with. We are completely detached from the sources of our food. Other than on television, most children have never seen a cow or a horse or they think of a goat as just like what mommy calls Grandpa.
But it’s not lost. It’s all out there and children deserve to see it and live it a bit and get a feeling for our history as a measuring rod to assess the concept of progress, the meaning of success, and the terrible linkage between what we’ve gained and what we’ve lost.
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