Jun 18, 2009


OK, now I see that I have a few visitors, but the cats have apparently got all their tongues. I sure would appreciate some idea of who's out there knocking, what you'd like to talk about, and what it is in Banjo52 that you're finding good, bad, or in-between. After yesterday's windy tale, you may raise an eyebrow when I say I'm a good listener, but that's what I've been told.

In recent years, I've grown more and more interested in notions about groups and boundaries. I had a minor epiphany a few summers ago as I watched some birds fly across the Ohio-Indiana border. I'm fairly sure they had no idea they were changing jurisdictions, Buckeye to Hoosier, but I was amused to find myself wondering where and why the birds might detect a meaningful change, or a destination, or a reason for flying.

The implications of this for humans fascinate me. Look at our identification with alma maters, hometowns, neighborhoods, symbols (the flag, the cross, the star of David). Where are the borders that tell us how those places may or may not affect us years and decades after we've left?

One day I'll hold the podium on the importance of school colors and team uniforms. I used to be embarrassed to realize I knew a fair amount about this apparent trivia; then I got to wondering just how trivial it was. If school colors and nicknames can rile us up, how far are we from the volatility of similar, but much larger phenomena and issues of culture, race, gender, career, religion, landscape? Who and what own me? Can hills own me? Or the colors "maize and blue"? Why not yellow and blue? How much do I care? How free am I to change how much I care?

I'd guess we speak too freely (smugly?) about tribalism in New Guinea or Afghanistan. Maybe we are plenty tribal right here, but with different ways of experiencing and expressing it.

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