Friday, June 10, 2005

Somewhere over the Hudson Bay

What a pleasure to be sitting on this SAS flight with my two daughters, on our way to Finland. It is midnight local time here near the Hudson Bay but it is still sunny. The ground is quite frozen and covered with snow and ice. This is polar bear territory. What a remarkable animal it is, the only bear that is a true carnivore. Its skin is black but the hollow hair shafts reflect so much light that the fur appears almost white. In size it competes with a large grizzly. Too bad it has become a nuisance around human habitats, as it finds garbage an easy source of nutrition, just like its black cousins.

We people resemble bears in many ways, except that these magnificent beasts are a lot nicer than Homo sapiens. We, too, digest a lot of garbage these days, although we may not realize it. It is easy to take care of one's hunger without having to work hard for it. I don't mean only in edible substances, but also art, entertainment and media. We are so used to mediocre everything that even an awful performance, painting or a book is accepted by many as high art. Our Western culture has been sliding downhill for a long time. Perhaps it is time to say good-bye to its supposed superiority and embrace something else coming from a distant culture. I have tremendous respect for anyone willing to seriously study the arts and lifestyle of foreign cultures. A student of mine is going to Uganda for the fall quarter. I'm so envious of her! Most of our own Western art was created for the royalty and aristocracy, or the needs of the powerful church, not for the common man in mind. My daughter took a class this year in world music and we had a wonderful time making discoveries together in Indonesian music and following the voyage of Gypsies (Roma) and their music from India to Spain, among other things. Actually she had made the discoveries and taught me. I was a good student and learned a lot. A young mind can be so open to all kinds of new ideas. The older we get, the smaller our world becomes, in most cases. Personally, I pride myself for still having a young mind. I am in absolutely no hurry to grow up.

Five hours of flying left to Copenhagen and a bit longer to Helsinki from there. Two more hours of driving and we get to our summer home where I spent my vacations for over fifty years of my life. Not much has changed there, except that we now have electricity. Still no running water and the old outhouse still functions as it always has. We can't wait to heat up the sauna (it makes one incredibly clean and relaxed) and go rowing on the lake. It is heaven on earth.

Written on Siemens SX-66 phone/pda