Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wind, water, rocks, sun & trees

To provide a sharply defined contrast to the photograph of the apartment building in Old Town at Warsaw, Poland, which I used for an illustration to Part 1 of this piece, I decided to post a photo from the North Shore of Lake Superior taken during the summer of 2009 when I made a brief jaunt there to "get away from it all." Although the North Shore is a popular tourist destination, it requires little effort to find privacy, solitude and picturesque settings to enjoy.

Were we born for where we live?
Part 2 of 2 .... whoops ....
Changed my mind; now Part 2 of 3

In the past, I have been quoted as saying that you could drop me off in the middle of any wilderness area -- woodland, desert, arctic -- and I would walk out a few days later with a smile and probably healthier and happier than I had been when the trek began. I also have been quoted as saying that put me in a town that is larger than two blocks long north and south bisecting another two blocks east and west, and I probably would be lost within ten minutes.

Believe me, I have witnesses who can verify both these statements as factual.

I also have been quoted as saying that I feel more safe and secure in a wilderness area than I do in any city. This, undoubtedly, has evolved from partially learned skills. But, I firmly believe, this mainly is the result of innate instincts and talents that cannot be learned by just anyone or taught to just anyone. It is either there, inside, or not.

This coincides with my comment in Part 1 to the effect that looking out of the windows of The Apartment overlooking Castle Square in Warsaw made me "comfortable and uncomfortable in the same breath."

This (or that) is me. My assumption is there are people who "are born" for the city, just as I was born for the woodlands, although it is difficult for me to understand how anyone could be that way inherently. I would greatly appreciate having a city-lover explain that side of the coin to me in some way other than saying there always is something happening in the city, always something to do in a city (i.e., the "entertain me" factor).

Museums, galleries, stage plays, libraries, concerts can be (and should be, I think) the nourishment of city dwellers. Despite my woodland leanings, do I enjoy these things any less than the typical resident of Warsaw or Minneapolis or Los Angeles? No. Unequivocally no. As a matter of fact, I probably enjoy them and appreciate many of these places and activities more than the average metropolitan inhabitant. And, I am not without knowledge of music and art, particularly in a historical context.

In a more important sense to the masses, the city is the epicenter of more base entertainment and rather mindless activities. To verge on being rude, it seems to me it is the place where the person who is most incapable of entertaining himself or keeping himself occupied with beneficial activities would be the happiest.

Now, then, from my point of view the best part about living in the center of a major, metropolitan city is the people. And, the worst part -- yes, you guessed it -- is the people. I am no less fascinated by people on the street than I am by objects in a museum or paintings in a gallery. Perhaps, the difference to me is that a painting in a gallery, for example, represents the inner being of the artist, while the person walking down the street, more than likely, is someone whose inner being I will never know.

(To be continued)

More music from the movies

Since Part 1 of this piece included the musical score written by Jerry Goldsmith for the film, "The Wind and the Lion," it seems natural to include his work for another movie here along with Part 2. So, I selected the score from the "The 13th Warrior." Goldsmith was an Academy Award-winning composer and conductor who died in 2004.

This movie, "The 13th Warrior," is based on a novel, "Eaters of the Dead," by Michael Crichton, who stole the story (literally, in my opinion) from an old manuscript written by one Ahmad Ibn Fadian, a 10th Century Muslim who traveled with Vikings up the Volga River into the land of the Norse.

The fact that Ibn Fadian made this journey is historically established. His account of the battles at the end of his trek, however, are generally accepted as being his own recounting of the "Beowulf" legend rather than a report on his actual experience. Somewhere amongst my papers in a storage unit here in Minnesota are copies of Ibn Fadian's escapade in the original Arabic, as well as in English translation.

In addition to the music, I cannot resist from including a brief clip from the end of the film.

This motion picture is good, if not great, especially for its utilization of actual Viking customs and beliefs and habits -- and, for a glimpse of the story of Beowulf, if you are not acquainted with him, and his destruction of the man-beast Grendel, who slays and eats men, and of Grendel's demon mother. I would recommend it.

For this segment of my post, I will sign off as Abu Ian rather than as Fram.


Kaya said...

Fram, photo is beautiful. If you would not say that this is a lake, I would think it's an ocean. The waves are quite strong on this lake.

Why live in a city? If I would be able to live in New York I would move right away. And only when I am upset with myself I would like to escape from life and live in a very secluded place. with a lot of trees. Not sure about wildness. How can you feel secure in wildness? That is mystery for me.

I told you once that you know soooo much.

Yes, Fram you know a lot!!!!! Interesting post, very interesting.

Fram Actual said...

I chopped off the last few paragraphs of this post, Kaya, because I want to write a bit more and to change the ending slightly.

But, your comment still works just fine.

But, I still do not understand why you or anyone would actually want to live in New York City or any comparable metropolitan region. It seems to me there is danger all around you, and an individual has no real identity literally living in the midst of millions. It escapes me entirely. Think about it, if you would, and answer again when I post the last part once more in a couple of days.

Yes, about Lake Superior. It is believed some rouge waves have reached a height of twenty-five or thirty feet. I have canoed in six-foot swells and, believe me, it is quite a thrill.

Possibly, this post explains why I am alone.

TheChicGeek said...

Hi Abu Ian :)
I saw the picture and I said to myself, hmmmmmm, was Fram following me today? I went running on a beach very similar to yours today with the dogs in Topanga Canyon. I suppose I am lucky because I do live in a city, but I am so close to very beautiful and deserted places in which I can go to commune with nature. I even saw a little group of sea lions swimming along as we hiked up the beach :) The waves were quite large today and the ocean such a beautiful blue, sunshine glittering. It was really a sight to behold. Although I was only about 7 miles from the city, I saw no one else on my peaceful and sunny shore today.
Cities have their own special attributes, adventure, culture, music, varied dining experiences, educational opportunities and opportunities to learn about other people and their varied traditions and lifestyles. Primarily, I suppose, the city is a social animal. Both the city and the wilderness have great importance in my life.
For now I am here in Los Angeles so I make my happiness where it finds me. Those of us that can travel are fortunate as we never have to chose one or the other. We can set our base where we build love and lasting friendships and travel out and about to explore and keep a fresh perspective in life :)

Happy Thanksgiving, Fram :) I hope you have the chance to go visit with your family and share some love and turkey, and just have a really nice time.

Love from the West,

TheChicGeek said...

Hey Hon, I meant to tell you that I'm almost finished with The Boat of Longing...I think I love this one even more than Giants in the Earth. I wish he were still alive to write more. He truly has a magical talent, doesn't he?

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

Fram Actual said...

Wait until you read Part 3, Kelly. You might think you live in a war zone if you are willing to accept carte blanche what I write there.

Honestly, I know what cities have to offer, but I still do not understand why people choose to live in one.

I cannot remember the exact lines, but in the film "Jeremiah Johnson," Jeremiah is asked, to the effect, "Don't you miss the flatlanders (the city)?" and his response is to the effect, "I've been to one." Meaning, "no," he has been to a city and one is enough. I think I will try to check out those lines. It bothers me not to be precise. It is a classic line.

I still wish to have further experiences within the depths of a city or two or three, European ones, actually, rather than American ones, but I really, honestly feel like an alien being there in the midst of crowds. Part of it, I think, is the "ancient reporter" element: Walk in, look, listen, ask questions, walk out and write, and leave your opinions to yourself at the door.

Every aspect of "The Boat of Longing" makes me feel like I am there with the characters, experiencing what they experience and feeling what they feel. They really were alive once upon a time, flesh and blood people, and I am there, myself, an actual man, among them.

I love the book, if it is, in fact, possible to love a novel.

I may have mentioned it in previous posts or comments, but I have walked the streets of Minneapolis with this book in hand, just as I have walked the railroad tracks in Seney, Michigan, with Ernest Hemingway's "Big Two-Hearted River" in hand, and seen the places these men wrote about still there today. It creates an amazing feeling within.

Yes, and I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, Kelly, hopefully one in which your children, mother, and siblings are holding their own and recognize their good fortune for the presence of you in their lives.

Take care, Ibn Dean ....

Kaya said...

Ok, I am waiting for the next part to come and I am going to answer....

It's a blizzard coming in one hour and many offices are already closed. For three days it will be -17C or 1 F. It never was cold before here. And will be a lot of snow.

Fram, have a very peaceful and nice Thanksgiving.

Oh, just enjoy whatever you like to do and be happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!......

Fram Actual said...

It could be that it will be colder for you than it is for me during the next few days, Kaya, but there is a winter storm warning for several states in this region beginning around here tomorrow. At one time, I thought I would be on my way to Lake Tahoe around the first of November. Snow, snow, wherever I go.

Right now, I am trying to think of someone to ask out for a Thanksgiving dinner. All my family members have plans sending them in different directions this year, so I am searching my memory for an unattached, young lady who would make a pleasant dinner date.

You, too, in regard to Thanksgiving. I hope you have an enjoyable, happy, peaceful day.

Something special ....