Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why I love history.

I was out on another bike ride today, I went to Mooney's Grove, a park outside of town. I have fond memories of going there with my grandparents a long time ago. When we would visit during holidays like Thanksgiving and Easter, many of my cousins would be there too, and it was a special treat for us kids to go to Mooney's Grove. They had a skateboard park there, and this was way back in the 60's! And we would bring our skateboards, which at the time were flimsy little things with steel wheels, not the fancy ones of today.
When I rode by there today, I looked for that skateboard park, but learned that it was removed years ago, only a gentle slope of lawn is there now. In my mind I pictured all of us kids there, with other kids, laughing and falling and having echo of the past. It's always the past...memories that get replayed over and over...Then I thought of my visit to Stonehenge in England years ago, and how the same kind of image went through my mind. The people who lived there back then, the villages and huts, how things might have been to only empty tracts of land.
I have always loved history, fascinated by it really...on my ride back it dawned on me that history is all we really have. Oh we have the present and future of course, but that too will become history in the blink of an eye.
If you think about it, the past has always been more important than the present. The present is like a piece of living coral that sticks above the water, but is built upon the millions of skeletons of coral under the surface, that no one sees. In the same way, our everyday world is built upon millions and millions of events and decisions that occurred in the past. And what we add in the present only becomes part of it.
A guy has breakfast and goes to the store to buy the latest cd of his favorite band. He thinks he's living in a modern moment. But who defined what a 'band' is? or what a 'store' is?...or a breakfast of bacon and eggs?...not to mention all the rest, everything that defines his social setting, family, work, clothing, transportation, government...All of this was defined in the past, hundreds of years ago...sometimes thousands. This guy...and all of us...are sitting on a mountain that is the past, and he never notices or realizes it. It's just something you take for granted and never think about...So that's why I'm fascinated by history museums, or historical sites, or simply an old house, or a place or location that carries a certain meaning or experience, because it's part of the grand collection of the things that made us who we are.


  1. Wow Dan! What an excellent and deeply thoughtful post! What I'm experiencing now typing this word... is now history.. very deep. We are all a part of history.

    SAM of Nothern California

  2. Thank you SAM! yeah it's funny all the things you contemplate out there riding!