Dipping into Heraclitus's RiverWednesday, January 02, 2019
I can remember distinctly, exactly (well almost!) how old I was (6), when I looked at myself and understood that I was me and that, somehow, I then had a blurry idea of my individuality. Now 70 years later I find it incomprehensible but easy to see how 70 years slipped by without me really stopping (Heraclitus would have told me that would be impossible) time to think, “How will I perceive or re-live this moment in a near or even distant future?”
My Manila-born grandmother (but educated in 19th century Spain) often told me, “Nadie te quita lo bailado.” This does not translate so nicely into English as,”Nobody can take away the dances you have danced.”
Thus I can look back at the many varied experiences that I have had while living in Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Veracruz, Nueva Rosita, Coahuila, Austin and now Vancouver.
Obviously I am a product of a different century in which as a boy we had an icebox, no telephone or TV, no car and milk was delivered by a horse-pulled cart. I flew in C-47s and DC-3s, 5s, 6s, 8s, Comet 4Cs, Constellations and Super Constellations, Convair 990s and briefly in the back seat of a A-4 Skyhawk of the Argentine Navy.
In this century I cannot understand how journalism and photography is taught in universities or technical colleges. When these folks graduate where do they get jobs?
In that past century I was paid to go to Europe, South America, Mexico and the US to take photographs. I managed to get $3500 day rates in the 90s to shoot annual reports for logging companies that are now gone.
But more than anything is this Hegelian back-and-forth of this time with that time, and a synthesis for this present, as I write this, I marvel at what seemed simple things then that now are not only unattainable but impossible.The times that created them are gone.
Consider this photograph of Salem getting ready to dance at the Marble Arch. In my time I was privy to at least 8 changing rooms for strippers in this city and a couple in Las Vegas.
In the political milieu of the times now, none of this would have happened nor would you now be able to munch on a hamburger and sip on a beer while watching a lovely woman take it all off. And when I did this in that past, I did it without an ounce of guilt. Could that happen now?
My grandmother had it right. Those memories I had cannot be taken away. All I can do is experience them and consider myself lucky and thankful that I was able to dip (as Heraclitus would have said) into those waters.