Friday, August 22, 2008

Oh Brother, Where art thou....Going?

I have a kid brother.  The best kid brother that has ever walked the planet.  When we talk we talk for hours.  When we laugh, we laugh long and hard and loud!  I am sure our parents are shocked, considering the childhood fights, but now we are great friends.  I would want to know him even if he weren't my brother (I feel the same way about my sister too, but this story is not about her).
So, Brother and I like lists.  We make lists of all kinds of things: Top 10 rock vocalists (while I acknowledge Robert Plant as #2 it is still Burton Cummings BTW), greatest guitarists, best books and movies of all time etc.  And yes, as pathetic as it may sound we do actually write this stuff down and even debate it.  So, the other day Bro was reading me a new list he had made of places he would like to visit someday.  He was doing a bit of soul-searching to reason through why all of his places were islands (Crete, Malta, The Isle of Mann, The Hebrides and the Orkneys to name a few).  We decided, among other things, that because of their geographical placement, that these islands were all places where civilizations had collided. They are places of intense history and primitive cultures that have merged and formed beautiful, rich amalgams of  customs and traditions.  He loves the blend of language and culture and people that induced.  It told us a lot about him.  We were amazed as we discussed what in him made that so appealing.  We learn a lot about ourselves with a bit of introspection.  So of course, I had to go next.
I quickly jotted down my list (which of course has been in my head for years anyway).  Mongolia, Alaska, New Zealand, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia, Svalbard.  Brother really digs on this kind of stuff, so he had to take a stab at why I would pick those particular destinations.  I hate to admit how right he was but he nailed it!  For me, it seems, the simpler the better.  I like things primitive, undeveloped and uncluttered. The draw of the open, untamed wilderness is undeniable.  God's creations undefiled.  I learned a lot about me.  My subconscious knows what makes me tick.  This exercise told me that I was on the right path with trying to live my life as simply as possible.
One other things struck us though.  With few exceptions, our dream places were the countries of our ancestry. There is something deep in our souls that draws us back to where we came from.  We acknowledged that, on an intellectual level, we have desires to see other parts of the world, but it is not the same.  These "dream" places have an inner hold on us.  We yearn to see them.  They are already part of who we are.  I wondered if all people felt this way.  Do people of African or Middle Eastern, Maori or Polynesian descent feel that draw toward their own places like I did?  Then I remembered a PBS series I watched. "African American Lives" featured several black celebrities, including Chris Rock, Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou, who had participated in  DNA testing to learn of their ethnic heritage.  Chris Rock openly wept as he told of what he had learned about his African ancestry. Somehow, whether we even know it or not, our past is indelibly etched in our present. Who we were is who we are and who we will become...
Quote of the day: "Our heritage and ideals, our code and standards- the things we live by and teach our children- are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings."
-- Walt Disney


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  2. Nice work, Big Sister. And thanks for the compliment. I love you!