Have you noticed how things have changed? Perhaps transformed is a better word. We all realized that technology would affect our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine or understand and now many of the radical departures from the past are here.
The tall apartment complexes being constructed in Manhattan, those that reach up into the clouds and cost in the millions, are being designed without kitchens. Small businesses, butchers, dress shops, boutiques are closing, leaving empty retail space, forced out by the escalating cost of real estate and the fact that so many people are buying online. Who has time to shop? Or cook?
I love technology and change. It keeps us young and curious and there are, of course, benefits. A robot that does the vacuuming, food that is prepared and delivered on a plate ready to be placed on the table. One click and a favorite black turtleneck arrives at the door a few hours later.
Where does nostalgia and tradition fit into this new world? What would Charles Dickens and Anthony Trollope have the say about what is happening now?
Over Thanksgiving weekend, as we began decorating the house for Christmas, pulling down boxes of lights and ornaments and moving furniture to make room for the large Christmas tree, I began thinking about how meaningful these traditions are and perhaps they will always have, in one way or another, a place in our wired world. Traditions grow out of wanting to transfer the customs and beliefs of one generation on to the next.
As I hope to do most of my Christmas shopping locally it was a pleasure to meet two of the organizers of Gilmanton’s Own, a nonprofit that is establishing a cooperative market and agricultural center that will “promote, enhance and encourage the interests of farming, agricultural resources, and rural aspects of community life.” One of the goals of the organizations is to: “assist farmers and artisans to make beneficial connections with local organizations, governmental agencies, and nonprofit organizations.” During the month of December, the group has a room at the Brick House and is offering jewelry, jams, breads, art and many other things that make special gifts.
Now when I look around at our changing world, I focus on history and think about what we have learned that will help us understand the new. In the words of Diana Balmori, “Nostalgia and utopian dreams for the future prevent us from looking at our present.” (A Landscape Manifesto, Yale University Press, 2011).
- Written by Ginger Kozlowski
- Category: Columns
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