Saturday, October 8, 2011
I've always looked at traditions with a bit of disdain. It might just be because I'm young, but I have trouble seeing the point behind doing something just because other people have been doing it for a long time. The other day I was watching a program on T.V. about a tribe in South Africa that chooses to live in the bush without any modern commodities in order to carry on the lifestyle that their family has been living for thousands of years. I can't help but think -- what's the point of that? Why go through all that hardship just for the sake of tradition? However, as summer winds to a close and autumn and the smell of freshly-fallen leaves crushed underfoot is just around the corner, I am beginning to realize how comfortingly familiar some of my family's seasonal rituals are, even if we don't really recognize them as traditions. Whether it's decorating for halloween or whipping out the pumpkin cake recipe, traditions seem to surround my family, and it's becoming apparent that traditions are pretty hard to avoid. And for now I see no reason to avoid them. For me these fall rituals bring back memories of being a kid and growing up in the woods on a dead-end gravel road. My brother and I shared a room and at this time of year we always slept with the windows open. The crickets would chirp like crazy and the frogs from the creek at the bottom of the valley would start humming and the dogs would bark at some noise they heard in the woods and the chirping and humming and barking would join the owls and the frantic beating of a moth's wings against the window screen in a hectic lullaby that had me asleep as soon as my head hit my pillow, which had been made cool and crisp by the chilly breeze that had been blowing through the window all afternoon. (Sorry about the rambling nostalgia there...). Anyways, I guess i'll let myself get a bit sentimental this fall with the whole tradition thing, even though I still think that the tribe in South Africa I mentioned is going through a lot more trouble than is necessary -- or they're just really stubborn.