Flash of Silver…the leap that changed my world
Rite of Passage Six –Early Tumult–
(1950-1951) Age 16-17 years old
The ‘law of unintended consequences’ -clean hydroelectric power and its collateral damage to fish. Are such ‘developments’ eventually going to destroy life itself?
One would think that the abuse I experienced at my early school was a…tumult! The kind of sudden dislocation that matched the experience I imagined for the salmon going through a hydroelectric dam.
It turns out that I needed to wait for such an unsettling moment, one that would ‘snap at my heels’ for decades to come.
I discovered, whilst serving as a ‘busboy’ in the dining room, that I was seen as part of the ‘servant class’. As a busboy (or commis waiter) I could not converse with the customers. I was to be seen (perhaps not even that!) and never heard.
What was so difficult for me at 15 years old was that my father’s customers were my friend’s parents. I was from downstairs and they were upstairs. I was from a different class and I tumbled endlessly through that torrent of attitude (mostly mine) until I reached forty.
It isn’t only people who suffer at being seen to be lesser beings; it’s also nature itself that is degraded by the ever-present drive for commercial success that treads indifferently upon sensitive soil or waters en route to their personal acquisition of…stuff and/or status. Does the hot pursuit of money always leave wreckage in its path?
So…what about now?
I live these days quite close to the Elwah River in Washington State (USA) and am completely overjoyed by the changes that have been made in its tumultuous journey to the sea.
Two hydroelectric dams have been removed and with that has come the restoration of its eco-system that had been starved of its nutrient-rich salmon population for 100 years.
Nature has reclaimed the malnourished banks and wildlife of all kinds, the salmon are back and growing in numbers.
I have also found that I too have set aside my preoccupation with financial ‘success’ and I am no longer concerned about being seen as a ‘servant’. I love to be known as such and no longer hide my ‘lower status’ under brand named products and places that declared that I was a celebrity ‘winner’.
So many years, such a long hard journey…and now, such a peaceful acceptance in the midst of great people…who also serve.
P.S This week I read Treena’s poem Saga of Two Trees