Anita's Child

Run Away World of Japan Page 4
18. My memory is as good as.....my memory is as good as.....hmmm what was I intending to say now?? Well, I do remember when I saw the film "BAMBI" for the very first time. One thing I didn't realize, back then when I saw it as a 7 year old child,....was that Bambi and I, had one important thing in common. We both lost our mothers. That somehow, didn't strike me until I saw the film again when I was in my late 50's. I wonder why it didn't hit me then? But I do remember how dramatic the story was. Shortly after that experience, I was devastated with the fate of a collie dog, in "LASSIE COME HOME". Once again, an unforgettable experience. There's more that I remember. I've already mentioned a few things I remember, earlier in my story, but now I'd like to relate those times during historical moments. Take for instance the advent of Hi-Fi! What a thrill that was to hear a wide spectrum of sound; a "wall" of sound. I was about 14 years old, at the time. That would place the time to around 1954. The arrival of television didn't have such a strong impact on me. Maybe because the image was lacking in picture quality. Speaking about picture quality, I do remember the thrill of watching the first 3-D film. I wonder if that was "THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON" ? But there might have been a film before that scary film. I don't remember the first time I saw a jet plane. It might have been the Canadian built Canberra bomber, as it glided in for a landing at Albrook Air Force Base in the Canal Zone of Panama. The reason I never saw US fighter planes, or heavy bombers, was because they weren't strategically a necessity for the defense of the Canal. DC-3's and DC-6's were constant visitors to the air base. Then one day, to the surprise of all the students in my high school, a giant transport plane rumbled overhead, barely skimming the top of the school building as it headed toward the landing field, which was within sight from our three storied red brick school. The roar of that transport plane was enormous, so we were forewarned as the plane prepared for a take-off in the direction of the school, where most of the students watching the spectacle, I'm sure, kept their fingers crossed hoping the plane would clear the school building. As you probably understand now, I'm fascinated with flight. Flying through the air on silver wings, or any form of space travel, even when it only happened in comic books or on the silver screen, has been one of my greatest fascination. Maybe it's because space, that truly "Wild Blue Yonder", is our last frontier, and we have to go the distance. As a nation of conquerors, it will become our destiny to start planet hopping, star system hopping and finally, the incredible day we manage to traverse from one galaxy to the next. Anything less is simply cowardice. We should have been on Mars today. We simply lack the proper machinery of a more advanced flying machine, for rockets will not be the final solution for space traveling. Well, I am rambling along, forgetting that I'm supposed to be sharing historical moments I can relate to. I do remember hearing how the runner, Roger Banister, broke through the 4 minute barrier of the one mile run. I remember what an earth shaking experience it was to watch the science fiction film, "THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL". That was certainly a mind boggling experience. The thought that there could be life on distant planets within our solar system, launched the start of my own personal search for ET's. I've been watching the skies ever since, for some sign or evidence that "We Are Not Alone". I've seen a few things, but nothing to match the famous encounter of Barney and Betty Hill, as related in the book, "THE INTERRUPTED JOURNEY" by John G. Fuller. I remember hearing for the first time, the incredible protest song, that spoke for a whole generation; the song, "THE EVE OF DESTRUCTION" telling us of the ironies and dangers of not believing that we were heading for imminent destruction. I remember the impact of that song as I departed from a Los Angeles Transit bus on Santa Monica Blvd. in West Los Angeles. And not far from that location, south west, on Pico Blvd. and 20th street in Santa Monica, California, in 1963, the echo of, "President Kennedy was shot today in Dallas....." was playing again and again, like a broken record inside my head, as I walked down 20th street, heading towards Pico Blvd. I remember sitting in the foyer of a hotel in Kirkeness, Norway, watching the televised images of man's first landing on the moon. To hear the pilot giving off the coordinates as the landing pod approached the surface of the moon, has to be the greatest experience I've had. I wouldn't trade this experience with any other. To have had the opportunity to experience that "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind", beats anything I can remember. 19. Geeze,...writing this story is not as easy as I thought it would be. I'm now starting to suffer from that infamous "writer's block". I sat here thinking for the past 20 minutes,...on how I would begin this portion of writing. I tried to see images of my past,...searching for something noteworthy to mention, but I was at a loss to find anything worthwhile to talk about. I could go back to the time when I lived on the farm, out there in the Panamanian wild country. I could tell you a strange story about a bird I wanted and how it was delivered to me, in a most peculiar fashion. Out in the jungles.....where blades of grass have edges sharp as razors....where hummingbirds zip about searching for the sweet nectar hidden in flowers, where crickets at sunset start the endless cacophony of their beating wings, that could drive you crazy,.....if you weren't used to them. In the jungles it is not just colors that will impress you,...but even the sounds. Crickets, parakeets, robins, blue jays, and in the far distance, an occasional dog barking warnings of intruders. The sounds of animals,....especially when they are in groups.....can be fascinating. I've felt the ground rumble like an earthquake....when a flock of sheep started a run. I've heard an orchestra of parakeets chattering their excitement. You'll hear them from several hundred meters moving like a ball of sound....flying just above the tree tops.....skimming the trees,...and moving with great speed, and if you're fortunate to have them cross your path,....flying close by,...you can't help but be touched by their excited chattering. Parakeets of Panama are very green in color. Beautiful emerald green! Small like the popular buggies, these birds learn a few human sounds when they are held in captivity, locked in cages. They are sold in market places and are quite popular. One day as a flock zipped nearby our house, one little green thing fell from the flock, dropping like a stone, not more than 25 meters in front of me. I walked over and picked it up and it hardly protested the capture, and I wondered if it must have been a young one just learning to fly, unable to keep up the pace, and just ran out of gas, to fall for me. I kept the bird. Found a makeshift cage to keep it in. What a pity then, I didn't have a camera at the time to record the happening. It would have been nice to see again, that beautiful creature that allowed me to enjoy its' company for a few months. I had clipped one wing in the beginning....to make sure it wouldn't fly away. Later I allowed the wing to return to its normal wingspan, and lost the bird back to the wilderness, from whence it came. That was a moment of magic. Something of a miracle, because I wanted so much to have such a parakeet. it must have felt my desire. Another unforgettable jungle tale I will share with you, happened as I was carrying lumber on my shoulders. At the time, my father was building our home-to-be. We would often join him to the dump yards, where the remains of torn down houses and refuse of just about item you could think of, was to be found. Chairs, tables, sofas, wooden boxes of all sizes and just plain ordinary junk. But my father, already ahead of his time, had nothing against recycling. So here I was, carrying "sidings" and "two-by-fours" on my shoulder, walking a narrow path, the beaten path to our very own plot of land. I think it was about 2 and a half acres of land, which the government distributed to everyone who was willing to use and cultivate the land, one way or another. As I am on my way down the last 50 meters of the pathway, with the construction site in view, I happened to glance downward and caught the sight of some color in motion. The ground is usually brownish red with the edges decorated with patches of struggling grass. I stopped, turned around and saw to my horror, a coral snake slithering. I missed stepping on that poisonous snake by only a few centimeters. They are wicked when threatened. They do more than just snap at intruders. They grab a hold on anything bitable, and chew on the victims. It chills me to the bone to think of how I would have managed to rid it from a deadly grip somewhere along my bared legs, for as a child I often went around in short pants, due to the tropical heat. Speaking of snakes; a few years later, while rushing down a dried out man-made- concrete-ditch, looking for a snake too slow to escape being caught, lo and behold, I found such a small creature. I picked it up and carried it home, not giving any thought to caution. When I arrived home with the snake, a elderly neighbor of mine, upon seeing what I had caught, told me that I was lucky, for I had captured a poisonous, young snake,....but since it was too young, it couldn't see me. Such snakes are born blind for the first few weeks, relying on their sense of smell to coordinate themselves in their surroundings. It was not mature enough to understand that I was a potential threat. You can guess correctly that I let the snake go free. That was the last of my snake loving days. By the way, boa constrictors make great pets, though I never had one myself. I've seen and held them, and consider them a very beautiful example of the reptilian world. 20. Less than 50 days, well actually 48 days, 3 hours, 58 minutes and 45 seconds until the start of the new Millennium, and what have I got to show for the time I've spent walking the face of this Earth? Would you care to know my personal feelings on this subject? In most cases you'd probably ask for a "rain check", and forget about ever returning. Who really wants to know the truth about the meaning of life? Who really wants to know what is truly happening to this world? Well,.. to be more accurate I should be saying, what WE are doing, what the human race is doing to this planet. Who really cares? You,..me? You've got to be joking. Oh, I can try to care, making a feeble attempt to do all that I can to protect and defend the life we all share, and please don't get me wrong, I'm not thinking solely of Mankind, I'm taking into consideration the rest of life. The whole spectrum of life. Fauna and flora, to be precise. The human over-population is reaching a breaking point. Something horrific is in store for us. The past 100 atrocious years, with several national leaders trying, in vain, to solve the problem of population growing pains, have somehow failed to find a lasting solution. How will the next attempt to take control over this dangerous situation be expressed? China, India and Germany have tried unsuccessfully, and they certainly won't be the last countries to try. At this point, any solution will be controversial since we are already on the brink of waking up from our sleep to find a dead planet, no longer able to sustain life in the oceans, or on terra firma, yet we will all fight tooth and nails to hold on to our personal lives, not willing to give an inch to right the wrongs we've collectively done to our planet, for our planet Earth is going through the motion of dying. There is no way to deny that truth. You may think how horrible the attempts of the past have been, to control our irresponsible procreation, but sooner or later we have to grab the monstrous problem of our reckless procreation, by the tail, run the risk of losing a part of our humanity, or else be eaten alive by the collective madness of the human race derailed. How much longer will it make sense to develop robots that do the work of humans, as we hold on to the out-dated ideology of the social dream of having "full employment"? Full employment for whom? Man or machine? There will never be full employment of humans, but there exists full employment of the mechanical robots working in industrial factories once peopled with humans. And where do the disfranchised citizen go, but to the modern ghettos, our ever increasing penal system, where most of the "have nots" end up, sooner or later. Something is dreadfully wrong here. Population control would have been better. Warning humans that robots are replacing them, relegating the ever increasing mass of the replaced ones, with the humiliating label and stigma of being added to the growing list of "unemployed", when in reality they should be considered displaced. Several nations have tried controversial solutions to control the ever increasing population, but have failed, and certainly, we have not seen the last attempt. Of that you can be sure. The longer we put off the problem of coming to grips with the catastrophe that is awaiting humanity, the more horrific will be the final solution. Look at how we are behaving as a specie. On one side, if you try to control the population growth, you are shot or blown away with bombs, and on the other side of the fence you find those who are feeding the fires of over-population, doing the same, also using bullets and bombs. Pure madness if you ask me. How religious leaders, blatantly exploit the masses, and do nothing to truly help all of Mother Nature's living creatures, I find extremely despicable. If animals had monetary incomes and bank accounts, you can bet that religious leaders would be there to collect their expected share, to leach off any exploitable flock. Tis the Crime of the Century. Greed and avarice. There are moments when I feel that life, isn't turning out to be a terrible mistake, but it has somehow been denied the potential to flourish and advance without population growth, while keeping in mind a sense of balance. The life you see around you, is like a train derailed. And like a "train out of control", plowing into the ground, tearing up the earth, and all the life forms, do we ever think of any other beings whose lives are being uprooted while damage is being done? No,...we are only concerned with how many humans died or were injured. That is our problem. We see ourselves first, and all else beyond our periphery of awareness, is given minor notice and attention. Our self-centered concern for humanity in particular, demonstrates our lack of respect and concern for the rights of other life forms to exist. That is what I consider to be the raping and stealing a planet. We use the trees to satisfy our humanistic needs...but do we care that it is the lungs of the planet? We suck up from within, the oil that is our planet. Earth is an oil and gas planet, and it is not the product of some false speculation of being "fossil remains". Oil and gas are the products of Black Holes. So here we are "burning down our house". We are burning up the contents that make up the size and shape of our planet. Do we ever stop to think that the size of the planet will obviously shrink? Do we think of the weight of the planet that is being altered which can possibly affect the movement of our planet, as it orbits the sun? Will we fall closer to the sun or glide away from it? The earthquakes, record rainfalls, terrible weather conditions, must be the side effects of a diminishing planet compacting as it shifts its shape. We also have the great loss of our forests affecting the distribution and amount of rain water. And who is bothering to think of these consequences? Are you concerned? I doubt it very much. You all drive around in your gas and oil guzzling cars, heating your homes with oil, creating more plastics, digging up ores, melting it into metals to make more machines that will in turn burn up more oil and gas. We are literally melting the land we roam, into metals to build the machinery which burns the oil beneath the surface of our planet. Where will we draw the line? When will we stop this rape of our planet? Don't we have enough sense to know that we shouldn't be "biting the hand that feeds us"? If we sought to have some sense of balance in life, with consideration for all of life, this wouldn't be happening. This madness wouldn't be taking place. We would not be multiplying selfishly, thinking only of the good of our private lives. Life cannot be good if it allows one single species to deprive the existence of the remaining links in the chain of life. We humans do not have the right to destroy the rest of life, in the name of human survival security. We are not the center of life. We are an inter-dependent link in the chain of biological life. I need the rest of life to be alive and well. such a vulnerable, delicate planet, with so much water to move around in, with some surface above sea level decorated with mountains and valleys in which to roam, and then if you are lucky to have silver feathers, you can take to the skies and try to reach the stars. But sadly, we are losing it, we are 'losing it'! Wake me up and tell me this is only a nightmare I'm going through. Wake me and tell me that the beauty of life is not fading away at the expense of human greed and its' narrow minded ways. If the madness continues, I can only hope for a swift transition of humans into machines, in the evolution of earthlings. At least it will put an end to the senselessness of humanity. 21. By now you must think I'm wallowing in pessimism and apathy. Don't think too much of it, because beneath it all, I'm really enjoying my life, without building up within me, an enormous guilt complex for not being at the forefront, waving banners, joining at the barricades, to protest the onslaught of Mother Nature. I've never been a party or member of any group. I lack the brains to be political. I've more or less, allowed my collection of photographs speak for me. Nothing bold or revolutional. Just the everyday experiences of a common man living with my own collection of routines, to "help me make it through the night". I might have indirectly been a part of the "Flower Power Revolution" during the early sixties. I say indirectly, because I just couldn't embrace the "Movement" and all the "Happenings" because it would have made me a hypocrite, since I wanted no part of the drug scene, which at the time, was an important ingredient for those who wanted to "drop out" and escape the horrors of a crass society on the verge of self-destructing. Our life today would have had better quality, if my generation had learned, as I did, that cellular lungs are not made of bricks, and that smoking defeats the drive to stay alive. That you don't have to smoke cigarettes to be "grownup", that you don't have to smoke your lungs to openly declare your role as an adult. That you don't have to smoke certain brands so that you can relate to "The American Way". I think it is cynically mean of tobacco pushers to use symbols to lure the naive soul to fill their lungs with smoke, and believe this to be a meaningful act, when in reality, it would be the just as sick to show someone how to stab themselves with a knife. The blade of a knife and the smoke of tobacco both kill. I live in a world that approves, for the sake of profit, collective suicide on a grand scale. Very sick if you ask me. If you insist on killing yourself, there is a more humane way to do it. Ask Dr. Jack Kevorkian; he can certainly be of great help. I tried smoking when I was a teenager. A so called friend gave me a couple to try. I even learned how to inhale the smoke into my lungs. But I didn't feel more mature or like a macho man, Bogart style, with a cig hanging from the edge of my lips. It did nothing, nor did it add anything to my character. Thank goodness I had the sense to think for myself at an early age and not fall for the peer pressure that a "friend" was exerting on me. I find it very disturbing to hear adults speak approvingly of the addiction to cigarettes. It would have made more sense if they used a child's pacifier. Pacifiers don't kill; cigarettes do. As you probably understand by now, I'm not the kind of a guy to use stimulants to enhance or distort reality. What kind of sense does it make, to light up a cigarette after you've been making love with your partner? First you celebrate and enjoy the act which can create life, and then you light up a piece of vegetation, which can kill you. That doesn't make sense. No wonder we've got problems. So much of what is acceptable in human behavior, is often contradicting good sense. Does it make sense to kill yourselves slowly with tobacco and then say in the next breath, that you are against the Death Penalty? Let me change the subject. I'll tell you about a lost moment. A setting that I wish I could relive so that I could catch a lovely moment forever on film. I often visit a small square in the center of the city of Halmstad. If you sit long enough, during the summer months, you will see many visitors from many countries, passing in review; most of them being families. You can hear the many different languages that are spoken. I can now recognize many of the languages spoken in Europe. I can hear the Danes, Norwegians, Dutch, French, Italians and Germans. One warm day, I found a bench in the shade of a tree and to my right, on another wooden bench, I saw a young girl "in waiting". She must have been in her 8th month, full in her belly and her breast. She had the features of Slav, a so-called "New Swede", and I could hear her speaking Swedish, with a blonde girl in her company. Her legs were folded, yoga style. She was so relaxed, even while being so large in her belly. I was fascinated. I kept seeing pictures of her. The different positions she took, and I noticed that she had lovely hand, lovely fingers, so that any position she took, her hands looked graceful to supplement her bulk. Her long hair bundled at the top of her head, with a few stray strands, framed her face. While she was conversing with her female friend, I kept thinking how I could possibly approach her and tell her that I'm a photographer artist and how attractive I found her in her pregnancy. I wanted to ask if she would be willing to let me photograph her later, at another time. I didn't have a camera with me. I knew somehow that she would probably need the consent of her husband, or her lover, but I was prepared with a reply, that I would have nothing against photographing both in a group picture. She and her friend got up and left, and I still wanted to ask, and knew that I'd have to act quickly, go after her, and state my wishes of wanting to capture her on film. I looked around to see how many would have noticed my leaving at the same time with her, and noticed that too many eyes might notice, so I let her go. I felt so sad at having lost a great model, for possibly a great picture.
Continues   Anita's Child


Run Away World of Japan


©
Carl Toothman
Halmstad, Sweden
April 7, 1999

reddot Return to  PART TWO