Life is a lot like music. The musical scale contains only twelve basic notes. And yet, those twelve notes have spawned every song known to mankind. Life also has its basic elements and rhythm. While I’m not a musician myself my understand is that it’s the bridge that ties it all together. As life changes from one phase to the next we look for a bridge to facilitate the transition. Some bridges are shorter than others but all of them are temporary. How bad would your favorite song be if it was all bridge? We’d miss the best part of the song. Life’s bridges may not be the best part of life but they do take us to those places. We just need keep moving forward.
Today is June 20th 2018. It’s a state holiday. Today is the 155th anniversary of West Virginia becoming a state of it’s own. The American Civil War was raging when Abraham Lincoln separated us from Virginia. We’re the only state in the union to be created from another one. The T.V. and internet if full of trivia and history about West Virginia.
Rather than cover what’s already covered so well by mainstream sources I want to talk about today. West Virginia is still a frontier. I’m not just talking about the “hills and hollers” that are seldom seen by human eyes. I’m talking about the unwritten future. Yesterday’s post about what it must be like to step outside time-space and actually be able to view all the past, present and future maybes was meant in part to help people see that the future is the product of our choices. On this day of remembering history and pride in our state I want to ask what June 20th 2026 will be like? How about June 20th 3018? As we look to our past and remember the greatness of our ancestors let’s not forget that the responsibility of future history is in our hands today. If we want our descendants to be proud Mountaineers we have to create that history today. Today’s challenges go by different names than our ancestors faced but the solutions are ultimately the same. Namely, innovation, self motivation and gumption. Our ancestors built a lifestyle that we are proud of because they didn’t wait for someone to do it for them and we’re not going to pass on that heritage by waiting for someone else to fix our economy or solve the drug problem or any other challenge of modern life. West Virginians are a culture of doers. In the past we lit up the world one lump of coal at a time and today we can do so much more if we’ll just put our hearts into it. The way I see it, West Virginia Day 3018 is looking pretty good.
I learn a lot from watching nature. Take geese for example. They have no complex language (as far as well know) and yet they seem to have the ability to maintain social cohesion. Maybe not as perfectly as some other birds but they do seem to function as a single unit. What’s more is that they seem to take turns at being the leader with relatively little conflict. If you watch closely as that V formation flies over or swims by they shift position with the leader creating a wake for the rest of flock to cruise in. I know the science of how it helps them to travel farther but it amazes me how there’s cooperation. I think that the secret is that each bird knows that their own well being is dependent on the well being of the flock. In turn, the well being of the flock depends on the well being of the individual. If the flock loses a member that means that the unit can’t travel as efficiently during migration. I think it’s the interdependency between leadership and followers that maintains the balance. That’s a lesson we should all learn.
Late last summer I managed to get a nice shot of sunset over the Kanawha River. The golden dome in the background is our capital building. My home is at the other end this river. When I was a kid I was told that the word Kanawha was a Native American word for big river. Today I checked via Google and was given a few more interpretations. The Shawnee say that it’s a word for new water and the Catabwa say it means friendly brother. That’s odd to me because I have always thought that both tribes spoke Algonquin. What’s in a name anyway? Whatever Kanawha means it’s a major resource. The tug boats are often seen pushing massive amounts of coal up and downstream. The Kanawha River has been a major resource for thousands of years and it still is today.