Irrepressible Expressions of our WhoNess

(Photo: Bridget Beth Collins)
(Photo: Bridget Beth Collins)

You’ll be happy you clicked through the images produced by “Flora Forager” from natural bits of color and shape. At least taking time to appreciate the details of these creations perked me up after spending way  more time than was good for me perusing the news of the latest mass mayhem and political buffoonery. I should probably banish my usual news sites from my browser; but that’s another rant.

Meanwhile, and on a positive note…

If nothing else—and there is an awful lot else–the Internet exposes humanity’s need and ability to create. I just keep coming across one example after the other of peculiar devotion to mostly personal–and some  community–examples of created work in the public place of the web. Why?

Sounds and visions, stills and moving images, arcane and abstruse scrapbooks and commonplace books of trivia or wit or imagination lie seemingly well beyond the range of those impulses and energies expended for the sake of mere survival. We don’t HAVE to do this stuff, but we apparently really really NEED to.

Perhaps porpoises and penguins and poodles have imaginations too. But lacking language and techology we’ll likely never know. None of them have blogs or podcasts.

In our own species, on the other hand (with thumbs) our supposed sapience as often as not takes the form of art in one of its incarnations [and decidedly not so much in the realm of political discourse or statesmanship.]

Floyd certainly has more than its share of creative expression through music and the arts, as well as some writers and photographers tossed about here and there.

We create, therefore we exist. Or the other way ’round? Calling into being that which was not, that which delights or excites or amuses or assaults with sound or shape or color or language our fixed notion of how things are–these are uniquely human energies. And this energy has never been so accessible to Everyman as it is in our time.

Humankind is capable of extracting so much beauty and meaning from this animal existence. And it shows our better selves.

Brains and thumbs. And some would say a divine spark of genius. The rest is history. And hopefully future offerings of creative impulse in pixels and poetry and pottery will be coming into our lives for a long long time to come.

Can our collective will to create be turned to the good as a force for change? Or does this description of humanity’s final fate tell the ultimate tale of our species?

“No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” Thomas Hobbes / Leviathan 1651

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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