Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nothing Special

We have so much these days. Of everything. Right at our fingertips. Whatever we want, when we want it. This is progress. This is moving forward. This is making sure it's better than it's ever been. Better off than past generations. We got it better than our parents, grandparents, on and on.

Here's the rub: In a world of plenty, nothing is special.

Used to be, growing up in the Northeast, that we waited for certain things. As in, when something wasn't in season, like, say, cucumbers, we did not have them. Sure, we could buy them at the store if we wanted them, but they were coming from far away and so they were a little more expensive and so we did not buy them. They didn't taste as good anyway, grown in some sterile hothouse. We waited. And when they were in season and plentiful, we had them. My first bite of cucumber (likely from our own or a neighbor's garden) was the sure, unmistakable, wonderful sign that Summer was here. That first bite of cucumber-y goodness was Something Special. Exploding taste. So pure, so clean. That went for corn, for watermelon, etc. Yes, sure, I can get anything anytime now, but I feel maybe I can't appreciate the little things like I used to. The specialness is somehow diminished.

We don't wait for anything anymore. Our demand for everything, right now, has left us... kind of empty. We don't value things. We don't treasure the simple pleasures. Our demand for things like beautiful flowers for purchase all the time every day has left us with huge gorgeous roses... that don't smell. I'm not sure what the point of it all is if you see a vase of roses and you go over and stick your face in them and take a deep inhale and get rewarded with... nothing. It's like a big fat lie to me. I once asked someone in the flower business why roses don't have fragrance anymore. He said, because the same thing that makes them smell good also makes them not last as long. So in order to get them to last, to get your money's worth, I guess? is to sacrifice one of the things that made them worthwhile to me in the first place. What IS the point of a great big vase of roses if they are only half there? I feel cheated. I am disappointed. But we want them all the time, we want them to last forever, and so we don't care anymore. They aren't special anymore. They are an empty sham. Would it not be better to maybe not have them so ready, so right there, but be WHOLE again? And maybe, just maybe, appreciate them more?

Is it possible to go back? Is it remotely possible to "give up" and "sacrifice" some things, not have everything right there right now instant gratification, to make things special again? Is that really even a sacrifice? And why is it so important, to go back? I'll tell you why. Because we are losing our appreciation for everything. We become jaded. Nothing means anything. Look at this younger generation. What do they value? Cell phones? So what if they lose it or break it or whatever. Just go get a new one. Food? there's nothing special there. They never had to wait, anticipate. It's all right there in the grocery store. Go get it, what's the big deal? Everything is new and now and nothing is special. Nothing is appreciated because it's all just part of the same noise.

We're losing something here. I don't know, maybe it is where I live now. Maybe I'm just not seeing it. Maybe I need to live somewhere else. But I don't think so. I think we're in danger, if not already past the point of no return. If we just go back to that, we can look around and see that we're in real trouble here, and maybe we see the planet again, what it is, what it gives, what we're doing to it. How WE are in trouble.

What do we need to do to get back to appreciation? How do we make the good things special again?

It's a symptom. I promise so much would be helped if we returned to that. Appreciate the small stuff. 'Cuz it's all small stuff.