by Brad Nelson 8/12/14
One of the occupational hazards of being a conservative writer is dealing with and having to rebut all the gunk that enters the culture from the Left. It’s easy to become semi-obsessed by it, or at least “touched” by it as you would touch a newly-painted door frame and get paint on you.
It’s easy for the gunk to stick, to become a focal point — even in a good cause. It’s easy to have one’s pearls trampled, if only psychologically. At times, the world just seems to want to do stupid stuff just because it can, as if being alive and thriving isn’t enough. We must put our stamp of imbecility on life.
Thus my frequent outings in nature are not just for the exercise. They keep me sane as well. But even so, you can’t feed the soul on Mother Nature alone. Still, it does help. It can be refreshing to see real snakes slithering along the ground as opposed to the kind in the media.
And certain little things that you run across from time to time can help recharge the batteries of normalcy. Just the other day I was starting back home from a hike and was pulling off the primitive dirt road in my car to turn onto the main paved country road. But before turning I had to pause a moment. There was an obstruction. There was a man, in his mid thirties, pulling a fire-engine-red Radio Flyer wagon by its black handle up this country road in the dappled shade of the trees. His was a procession moving slowly along the margin. He was doing a heroic “dad” job of it, for in the rear he had two passengers — two young boys, perhaps about four and five years of age.
And you likely know the look of young children who are content and happy without a lot of flailing around. Even in this hyperactive age, it is still possible for children to sit still and find a means of being contented quite outside of video game anarchy. But it’s becoming a much rarer look, I will concede.
This Band of Wagon Brothers rolled by in front of me, neither looking right nor left, in solemn procession of boyhood and fatherhood as I waited to be able to turn onto the main road. Was it a mirage? The man seemed happy to be doing his fatherly duty. (A father? With his children? Didn’t they outlaw that?) The children seemed well-behaved and at peace. And I just assumed that this man was the father, for if this was a kidnapping or something of the sort, it wasn’t a very effective means of it.
So rare is the site of a Norman Rockwell painting, let alone one going by right in front of you at one mile per hour, that it was a rare treat of sanity in a world of nipple piercings, tattoos, anal sex, vulgarity, insanely loud and obnoxious music, sugar-rushes, and bland and banal text messaging blinks. I was hesitant to even make note of this charming slice-of-life picture for fear of tainting it with mere notice. How delicate it seemed.
The Radio Flyer World is fast vanishing. We’re too smart for that kind of world now. We move fast, our ambitions are volcanic, our appetites insatiable — which is perhaps why that wagon was moving so gloriously slowly, a ribbon of red passing before my eyes. A time gone by that still shows itself now and then, on a country road.
Brad is editor and chief disorganizer of StubbornThings.
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