Going… going… but not yet gone

the image shows an edmontonia. a sort of dinosaur

edmontia, a species of dinosaur.

I remember when “to discriminate” meant to distinguish fine degrees of difference, as in “a person of discriminating tastes.”

I remember when “disrespect” was not a verb.

I remember when “to grow”, as in “to increase in size” was intransitive and the only transitive meaning for “grow” was “cultivate” – as in oranges or daffodils, or hair.

I remember when there was no internet, and when a computer was something that would fill a room. This means I also remember when a manuscript meant pen marks on paper because there was no such thing as a word processor – Gasp! Horrors!

Last week I bought my son a paperback copy of Suzanne CollinsThe Hunger Games at Vroman’s bookstore on Colorado Blvd in Pasadena. The store is more or less on the way when my husband and I make our weekly visit to his dad at the assisted living facility. It’s a store where Ray Bradbury still holds a book signing every year on the weekend that falls closest to Halloween. The store seems to be thriving… but I wonder whether it will continue to do so in the face of changing technology.

It makes me feel a little sad.

Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur, old and slow, lumbering down the dusty path to extinction. At other times I am a bird, a winged and feathered dinosaur-descendent, soaring above the world.

Perhaps I would be a heron. I like herons because they are patient hunters who get to stand picturesquely beside still water, participating in the art of reflection.

Herons also do a pretty good soar from time to time, without having to spend all day at it like eagles. (Why do eagles always get to be the metaphor for success? All they’re doing up there is shopping for mice, and from the mouse’s point of view it’s going to be really bad news.)

Two herons and a few turtles

heron participating in the art of reflection.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/25001294@N00/26889049

When I am being a soaring bird, I look down and see the whole world spread out below me, stretching into both past and future and connecting them into a meaningful continuum. Things become linked, as old skills are put to new uses. So the dinosaur survives by transforming itself in little ways and finding new occupations.

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10 Comments

  1. It’s hard when the world keeps changing so much. I remember CD stores with listening stations. I remember cassette tapes. I remember when every mall had a bookstore. I like how the dinosaur survives. 🙂 I like experimenting with new things. Occassionally, I find something I really like.

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  2. I just want to have the good new stuff without losing the good old stuff. (I miss the Borders in our local mall.)

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  3. I remember going to the library to conduct research and having to “search” endless catalogues for the materials I needed, and then giving the info to the librarian and having to wait for results. I cannot imagine doing research now without the Internet. On the other hand, my life was definitely more “quiet” then, even without children. 🙂

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  4. Oh, yes. There are days where I feel like a dinosaur. But then, some of their descendants do live on, so there’s hope, right?

    I’m not sure where technology will take us or how far. Will the e-readers go the way of Beta? VHS thought it won, and then came CDs and DVDs…. It’ll be interesting to see what happens next. But through it all, people enjoy hearing and reading stories. So we’ll find a way to keep telling ours!

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  5. I read in the paper recently that relatively few people have switched completely to e-readers. They like them for certain things (mostly when they travel), but they like hardcopy books too. Some days, though, I just feel like I’m running so hard to keep up.

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  6. When Borders closed I was sad. I just remembered all the times I sat in the store reading a book at the cafe. I also remember the attending social group meetings like the knitting club, musicians playing and promoting their work and authors doing books signings. That bookstore was so much more than a bookstore. It was a center for the community. It is a sad thing but I suppose life goes on.

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    • Yeah. Virtual community is fine – I’m not knocking it, but the world needs physical places too. Thanks for stopping by, Melissa. I really liked your site – cool artwork on your book covers.

      Reply
  7. I feel the same way sometimes! Might be the reason for the attraction to ancient crafts. I really miss Borders too. B&N is okay. But it’s just not Borders.

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