From William Least Heat-Moon's PrairyErth, the author is reflecting on how little America seems to care about history:
The American disease -- and I'm quoting someone I can't recall -- is forgetfulness. A person or people who cannot recollect their past have little point beyond mere animal existence: it is memory that makes things matter.Then, reflecting on himself, and on why he chose to spend a year chronicling a single Kansas county, he says:
My grid walking half complete, I understood this: I'd come into the prairie, this place of long and circling horizons, because of a vague and undefined sense that I lived in shortsightedness; I saw how the land, like a good library, lets a fellow extend himself, stretch time, rupture the constrictions of egocentrism, slip the animal bondage of the perpetual present to hear Lincoln's mystic chords of memory. If a traveler can get past the barriers of ignorance and forgetfulness, a journey into the land is a way into some things and a way out of others.
Over the weekend we received a charming gift: a family friend that we rarely see had unearthed a collection of photographs of Emily's girl scout troop from about 15 years ago. We've followed along with this collection of girls as they grew into adults, and it was a treasure to think back just that brief period and remember what they were once like.