This is a continuation of a previous post about our Writers Marathon.  The following excerpt comes from Misty Maynord, proprietress of the Kechi Playhouse: http://kechiplayhouse.com/

            All the nooks and crannies, the gravel paths, the brick walk ways, the twisted wire fences with their quaint old fashioned gates speak of a world that is slipping away from us. Stepping into the Bartlett Arboretum is like taking a step back into another time when everything was not mass produced with an eye towards expediency and convenience. A time when people cooked real food in real ovens and not frozen microwave bricks. A time when listening to music was an act of communion rather than a solo experience through ear plugs. A time when parents were not afraid to let their children play outdoors all day, when neighbors knew neighbors, when there was not a T.V. hanging on the wall in every public place impinging on conversation.

 There is no doubt that modern times have brought many marvels, but they have arrived at a cost. Everything now seems antiseptic, lacking the charm of uniqueness. But here at the botanical gardens in Belle Plaine the past still lives. The tree house just inside the gate reeks of romance, but I have become so indoctrinated to current trends that I find myself thinking “ . . . it doesn’t have the OSHA approved standard grid to keep people from falling,” and that is just the point. People used to be expected to develop common sense, to be aware and alert, to have a sense of preservation without government standards doing all the thinking for everyone.

Perhaps that is one reason why common sense does not seem all that common now days. Perhaps that is why imagination appears to be less prevalent. It has occurred to me that while the old radio shows encouraged listeners to visualize the story unfolding over the airwaves, T.V. completely robs viewers of that same experience. Attention spans are shorter; seven second sound bites keep us engaged with mind candy and prevent the ability for true engagement with a puzzle, project, or problem.

 The sound of wind and birdsong in the Arboretum is magical. Natural quietness is becoming rare. I once heard the poet Nikki Giovanni say to a group of college students, “I can drive you all crazy – all I have to do is put you in a quiet room. None of you would know how to react to it.” I wonder if she isn’t right.