Seasoning history

ISO 100, 14mm, 1/500 sec., f/8

Salt, not sand.  Salt determined to suck every drop of moisture out of your body as quickly as possible.  Combined with heat to help the process along.  A plain of salt stretching into the distance with no relief except the mountains to be climbed, promising the barest shade and water after enduring the endless torture of brilliant glare, mind-numbing heat and constant dehydration.

Why does it seem the descendents of western pioneers are different than the people whose ancestors didn’t make the trip?  Maybe it’s the determination of the survivors, passed down through the generations in lessons based on stories.  Stories of accomplishment, achievement, strength of character, and simply how the ones before made it.  Lessons contained in stories like that stick in a few, who pass them down to be absorbed by yet another few.  And those few don’t see a problem with how they think, what they expect, where their intentions lead them or what other people’s perceptions might be of their actions.

Emerson said “All history is made by unreasonable men” and what can be more unreasonable than to endure something like the above image presents.  Yet humans have been doing this for thousands of years, expanding life in some of the most unlivable places on the planet.  Our history is of people who shrugged at the seeming impossible and moved forward.  Call it unreasonable or insane or motivated or just simply restless but realize somewhere deep in each of us is that nugget of desire that would propel us across hot salt toward a dream, goal, destination or hope.

This once harsh and salty frontier is easily crossed now by a concrete ribbon connecting pockets of humanity, a thin veneer of civilization on which people whiz by mostly unmindful of the benefits they have accrued from their predecessors.  Perhaps we’d all be just a little more human if we took a moment to realize and appreciate  the unreasonable giants on whose shoulders we all stand.

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