Hmm. Why an article entitled why? Well it all has to do with the corralling of narratives. Narratives is the name of a maverick steer I own that has a penchant for breaking free of the herd and roaming about wherever he dang well pleases regardless of attempts to keep him confined within the parameters of his sequential assignment. And I want to know why?
“But I digress” is a common “out” for distracted writers who’s narratives momentarily break free of the holding pen and go drifting over into the fanciful pastures of La La Land. I could use the dodge but hesitate. Not being a shined and polished scribe, impossible to know how “kosher” the apologetic gesture but even to a rank amateur the feign seems, well, a bit “amateurish.” Yet, lest I further digress, why the why?
The word “why” is a vehicle that seeks answers to the reason, cause or purpose of something that has taken place, will take place, or will not take place. Taking all this into account, ‘why’ as a narrative’ is given wide-ranging latitude rather than a critter restricted to the confines of previously constructed parameters. (Parameter is defined as a set of limits, boundaries or guidelines that hold something to an ordained course, i.e. narrative is a creature imprisoned by limits or guidelines of the established story, subject or topic. Or at least it’s supposed to be. Whereas instinct (an inborn pattern of behavior that is often a response to specific environmental stimuli) offers all life forms purpose of locomotion, “why” inquires of the schematic and is the gateway to intelligent reasoning; the element that sets us apart from the restricting parameters of animal instinct and allows for the establishment of cognizant civilizations.
Upon perusing the meandering tracks laid out across the pages of “Bottom Rung, P (my English teacher would have pups) it becomes evident that the “narrative” penned up out there in my own little literary corral is much too much a maverick to be contained in one small area of the ranch. One might imagine a rebel, forever probing the perimeters of his parameters. Destined am I to keep my horse saddled, foot in the stirrup and lasso hanging on the horn.
It’s easy to imagine the first word of my vocabulary after “mommy and daddy” was “why.” I can imagine the word “why” because from his earliest memory the kid was extremely curious. Puzzled may be more concise: Here he was living in a house with five other people, a boy baby yet unweaned, two little girls, older and two really big people, a male and a female who seemed to be in charge of the whole lot.
Oh, the arrangement proved comfortable enough, I was cared for and loved but still without a clue of what was going on.
For awhile I accepted the scheme of it without question, as a painting hanging on the wall, the image never changing, frozen in time having no beginning and no end, never climbing down from its place in the frame never strolling out across the landscape against which the subject is set. Why? Imagine having no concept of history. Imagine that you awaken some morning to a world that has no frame of reference, to a static scene, a frame devoid of yesterday, without any sense whatsoever of continuity, without plan, with no yardstick by which to measure future expectations or expansions; no vision of tomorrow and no inkling of yesterday. Only the isolation of an image imprisoned within a frame, never moving each day as the day before. Why?
I must have been tolerable young when the mysteries of life began scrolling across my consciousness, either that or really dumb for my advanced age.
Are you making me out of a fool, the kid demanded, more than a little angry at having been dropped off at my parents house without notice or explanation as to why; incredulous of my answer, the boy glared at me with pale steaming eyes clear as a thermal pool and accused me of putting him on. I figures a kid that old was long informed of the philosophy of the ‘birds and the bees’ and if not t’was high time to get it on; I proceeds to tell him: Sez I, son, your mom is having a baby, my mom is acting as mid-wife that’s why she’s down at your house and why you’re up here at mine lest you get in the way of the whole process.
Never could figure why a born and bred country lad would fail to equate the, uh, generational process of animals that he witnessed every day of his life to the progeneration of humans.
Can’t give a time or date that I became “biologically sophisticated,” but was questioning my origin much earlier than the kid had questioned his. A faint concept of beginnings and endings had crept into my consciousness early on and the mystery of my origin and my destiny puzzled me.
Oh there was explanation in the book of Genesis how God created the world and all therein, the great whale’s, fishes of the sea and every creature that walked or crawled upon dry land, how God jump-started humanity by molding two similar life forms out of clay, each with two special attributes which betwixt them and in cooperation was designed to propagate the species. He even listed their genealogy through a series of ‘begetting’s’ but gave no specific details of how the begetting was done.
And therein lies the rub; first, my parents were evasive of the matter, second, my frame of reference was virtually non-existent, and at such young age my reading skills were woefully diminished even had I had access to literature on biological theory. Everything I learned was second hand information much of it based on ‘alternate facts,’ and after awhile even the stork story came under suspicion because of the simple logistics of it.
Why? (For what cause or for what reason?)
Recalling it now, there were three mysteries that caught my attention that demanded answers: Why, I wanted to know, was that pale silvery orb hanging above me in the night sky, just beyond the grasp of my reaching hands? It seemed much closer. The answer, newly researched, is likely to be in the visual development of small children; eye/hand coordination and depth perception of a child matures at about two years of age, up until then visual perceptions may prove unreliable. This answers the “whys” of cause and reason but begs the question of age at the time of the experience.
I recall my father entertaining me of the evening time by reading stories from the Bible, but my mother was the “go to” for real information. Fact is she wasn’t a whole lot of help. My second puzzle was literally “Chicken Little.” The sky itself was a fascination, so tugging at my mom’s skirt-tail I asks, ‘mom what holds up the sky? Having not a clue how to answer, she replies, “Well, it’s the elements I suppose.” Being a couple of points shy of a degree in meteorology and not distinguishing betwixt elements and elephant I accept the answer on faith and pictures in my mind four of the great beasts at each of earths four corners stubbornly resisting the warnings of the hysterical Ms. Chicken.
Third of the why’s and wherefores of the mysteries of life (especially mine) was how I got here in the first place. So again I tugs at mothers skirt and asks, Mom where did I come from, did I spring up as a weed in the field? The lady feigned preoccupation and proceeded to ignore me.
Luckily, what my parents didn’t know, or wouldn’t tell me, I learned when I started school. No, no courses in human biology or sexology, rather, enlightenment came by way of the conceptions and misconceptions of older and more sophisticated classmates. The lads apprised me of the general idea yet there were more frustrated years of separating fact from fiction.
There is a different set of “whys’” now that I’m at the latter end of the time allotted to man. No. 1. In the context of intelligent design, what purpose is my being here supposed to serve? No. 2. After 45 years in one of America’s chanciest occupations, why am I yet alive? No. 3. Why does older age bring some low, while others thrive? And fourthly, why are so many of my age and time gone from amongst us, whilst others yet stroll above the sod? Someone clue me in on a reliable narrative.