Category Archives: folklore and ethnography

Timing is Everything – – –

Jack just gets over the line this time with the Wednesday blog post –

Wendy has always wanted a grandfather clock and we were gifted one by a local friend a few days ago. It now stands proudly in our library room.

But it got me thinking about time, both in general and in more specific ways.

I’ve always been interested in the way we experience time. When I was ten, then ten years was my whole life, but when I was twenty it was half my life. Now that I’m approaching eighty it’s an eighth of my life and the last ten years have gone in a blink.

All of this also brings to mind particular moments in time too – we have paintings and photos displayed around the house that are like time machines and instantly transport me back.

Up until recently our lives have been ordered by the days of the week but now, during lock-down I have real trouble deciding which day of the week it is. Mostly each day has the same shape to it and we go to some lengths to introduce some variety, but still – – –

We have a Zoom meeting every Sunday with friends here in the US and others in Scotland – here it’s at 9 am but in Scotland it’s 2 pm. Our good friend Liz Weir in Ireland hosts a massive on-line session every Saturday night with folk all over the world, but for many participants it isn’t Saturday night – for some not even Saturday at all!

Finally – we picked our first garden peas yesterday and I was instantly transformed to the ten year old walking home with my grandad from his allotment (victory garden) and eating peas from a freshly picked pod.

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As Others See Us

Jack hits the ground running – – –

I’ve often pondered on what we mean by ‘normal’ – normal behavior, normal lifestyle, normal ideas.

upside-down-united-kingdom-map-full

When Wendy was teaching Cultural Geography in a classroom instead of on-line she would occasionally have me in to guest lecture on Scottish culture. I would always read the textbook beforehand and was struck by something. The book was always written from a Western point of view and I got to wondering how a textbook written from an African or Oriental angle would compare.

My view of the world comes from a European perspective, whereas Wendy’s is American and although we obviously share a similar worldview, we’ve both had to make adjustments over the years.

A friend recently posted Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on Facebook and it reminded me of something I read by C S Lewis – maybe in Mere Christianity. He said, and I defer to his scholarship, that everyone in the world, regardless of religion, had the same sense of right and wrong, good and bad.

If we think of something like Maslow’s pyramid with the shared sense of good and bad at the base and a completely formed worldview at the top, then somewhere between the two is where the difference sets in.

Perhaps the answer to this conundrum is to start lower down the pyramid where the shared perspectives are more evident. That way maybe an African student can avoid seeing a European country as an ex-colonizer and a US student can question whether their form of freedom and democracy is the only kind.

There’s a very rich and varied mélange of ‘normals’ out there and I’ve been very lucky in my life to sample many more than the average person. My message? Read widely, travel widely and reach out.

The map at the top is of the British Isles viewed from the North instead of from the South – a good exercise in seeing your world from a different angle!

Interestingly – there are two countries, a Principality and a Province making up the United Kingdom – how many do you see shown?

 

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Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch