Monday, November 10, 2008

Origins. by Patresa Hartman

If I think too much about the origin of things -- literally things -- I lose my mind. Who was the first to decide a shoe was called a shoe and a lamp, a lamp, a dog, a dog? Who was the first to knit, the first to crochet, and the first to note the difference?

I don't know where anything comes from. I know that electricity started with a key on a kite, but I'm sure there was some inkling of it long before then. Who were the first two people to shock one another after skidding their feet across a hairy surface? And what was that like, to have no frame of reference to understand such a phenomenon? Was there fear? Panic? Giggling?

I wish I could remember the first time I saw rain or felt snow. I wish I could remember my very first sunset; I wish I'd had the wherewithal to record the shock and confusion, the suspicion that the earth was about to invert itself.

I want to know where the first note of music came from -- a drop in a pond? A tooth on a rock? It had to have been incidental. What did it sound like? And who heard music in that ding or clang? Who ventured to recreate it and recreate it again and at varying pitches? Who thought to put them together for chords and to pull strings across wood and hides across hollowed logs?

I want to know the origin of elastic and who invented the treadmill. I want to understand the first studies of muscle and the way it grows lean and powerful if you work it and feed it right. I want to know everything there is to know about the propogation of the very first tomatoes and who discovered what could be eaten and what could not and which things you could put together? Who stumbled upon casseroles and how? The miracle of cheese? Pizza? Cotton candy? The radish?

I want to know where balloons came from and why? That person, the one who stretched latex (Where did latex come from?) and then blew into it and tied it at the end... what in the world was she doing? Was she good friends with the main who screwed wheels to shoes and skated around?

What mindblowing phenomena are we stepping around daily, unaware? What civilization defining or simply convenience making inventions are at our fingertips, just waiting for our attention and curiosity? I am so grateful for the undiscovered and all of the beginnings yet to come, for the edges not yet reached and the nooks and crannies waiting to be illuminated.


Kathryn Magendie said...

OMG --you've been inside my head, haven't you?

An funny, but last night I was trying to remember specific things about specific times in my life - and was having trouble recalling some things - where's that thing that when you are getting older you are supposed to remember all the childhood stuff? huhn. laughing...guess that's MUCH older than me...huhph.

Barbara Quinn said...

Laughing here. I got to thinking the other day about why we don't have more of a British accent here. How'd the states lose so much of that pronunciation? Aussies sound much more English/Irish than we do.

That need to know is boundless. This floating in a sea of unfathomability sure does get tricky. Enjoyed this much.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oooh, ladies, I'll leave the big ponderings to y'all. I'm just glad I'm along for the ride. Deep thinking makes my head hurt. :)

Anonymous said...

Most days I am glad if I can remember where I left my boots. These questions take up too much brain juice for me to think about them. If need you need something heavy lifted or cooked, call me. More my speed.

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