Thursday, November 22, 2012

Banks of Green Willow George Butterworth Complete Living in a Beauracratic Age

Some anglers experience fishing as a get away. Isaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler in 17th century Britain, wrote "Let us go a fishing," as it was a way to exit the turmoil of his times between Protestant and Anglican Christianity, an all out civil war. I live my life as seamlessly as possible rather than compartmentalize it as if my mind were a beurocrat in charge. Modern people typically fragment themselves into conflicting interests as confused as Congress. Rather than separate fishing from the rest of my life, I consider the crisis of civilization we all live through now and simply recognize that nature is not and never has been a place apart from what we produce. Even Neolithic man a hundred thousand years ago impacted the environment deeply by use of fire to aid in hunting. When I was very young, ten years old, I had an obsessive desire to experience pristine wilderness. The way I worded this: Nature completely untouched by the man made. I spent plenty of time in wild places, but in this respect I seemed to spend more time very deep in my own mind attempting to imagine a perfectly pristine place, but actually discovering the purest reality that exists: the untrammeled human spirit. No better purity exists than within the being responsible for spoiling the environment. The dull theme of so much environmentalism--that man is an evil, destructive being--is not true.
George Butterworth is another British figure associated wtih war, having died fighting in World War One. His best known musical composition, Banks of Green Willow, expresses what it is to be an eternally youthful angler better than any other music I know. I hear no longing or yearning in the music; it is entirely present as if a goal inherant in all eternity is reached. The clarinet is subtly distant, as if a slow breeze is heard around a stream bend. The flute solo, following, is the very soul standing in open air sunlit on banks of green willow.
Existence cannot come from nothing; present time always implies past and future. So existence is eternal. The flute solo in Banks of Green Willow sounds like something that can happen not once, but over and over again, eternally possible. The earth is sometimes referred to mysteriously as this earth, as if planets like it can happen again and again forever, even if separated by whole, recurrent universes, trillions of years. What is a trillion years to eternity? The important value is your own life. If you don't live it now, will you live it a trillion years in the future?

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