History- that boring class you had to sit through most years of high school. The dates, the events-history. I liked history. I learned to love it when I found well researched, well written historical fiction. I love life. I love all of the facets of life. Music, entertainment, reading, crafts, families are just as much history as July 4, 1776 or December 7, 1941 or November 22, 1963.
I enjoy well written historical fiction. I was reading a novel that is not historical, but is set on Mackinac Island in Michigan. I didn’t realize the history that took place there. The fabric of the island. I live in Montana, with it’s crazy mining history, it’s ranches, its lumber history. If you read my blog this past summer, you also heard a bit about it’s forest fire history.
We are living through a rather turbulent time in history. It will be interesting to see how it is treated down the road. History never looks the same, in the rear view mirror as it does through the windshield. History is a reflection on events that happen, it is part of a picture of life. While it is happening, we are often too busy living it to fully appreciate it. Later study gives us a perspective, a viewpoint.
We build on history. When I knit something, an Aran sweater, a Fair Isle Tam, hats, scarves, sweaters, socks, I am building on previous knitters, previous knitting. My knitting is my perspective, my voice.
Having a voice in history is amazing. With all that is going on this year, I have had cause to review some bits of history. I have had some time to reflect. I want to, plan to do some serious reading. I have been out of school a long time. The history I knew, or thought I knew, faded into the background of daily life. A sense of history, like so many senses, must be kept alive. It must be fed, tended, treasured. Twenty five or thirty years ago I knitted about 30 Fair Isle tams. I did quite a bit of the design work. Last spring, I decided to knit another one. You can get rusty! Like riding a bike the know how isn’t totally gone, but it is very rusty. I finished the tam, and decided I need to knit more of them to keep my learning strong, to replenish it, let it grow even further. This is hands on, but I have a list of books I want to read. Some of them are new, some are ones I read many years ago. I need to reawaken what I once knew, and add to that knowledge.
Our historical perspective helps shape our reactions to today, helps plan tomorrow. That is the probably source of that infamous saying “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I have often thought that a corollary to that should be, ‘it’ll never happen to me/us.” We want to think we are unique, the exception to the rule. Realizing that we are individuals, we view things from our unique perspective, but we are NOT exceptions to the rule is essential. You and I can each experience the same event, but each of us brings a different perspective to that event.
We are living in a time of separation, a time of I said/you said. It seems as if each man IS an island. History can help us find paths to consensus, to a different perspective.
I haven’t totally disappeared, and I have been thinking about things, cogitating. I will share more as thoughts coalesce.