Recently I watched a Discovery channel documentary on the development of mechanical cranes throughout history. As fascinating as it was, my adorable children could see nothing entertaining in the subject matter what - so - ever! Brushing aside their complaints, I fell back on a popular utterance from an earlier era, "When you begin paying the bills around here, you can choose what we watch." I am usually more fair minded than that, but I really wanted to see and hear this program. There are certain times when a "parental privilege statement" comes in handy.
Anyway the show outlined an early crane that used an old mill wheel as a crank. Protruding from the wheel, twenty feet or so, was a fortified arm endowed with multiple pulleys and ropes, which was engineered to lift heavy objects. A weighted container of stones was attached to the back of the contraption for counter-balance. The ropes encircled the mill wheel, fed through the pulleys and out the end of the arm. The interesting thing about the contraption was that two men climbed inside the enclosed rotation device, and, like hamsters on an exercise wheel, turned the crank. As though they were climbing a ladder, the men, in unison, would place their hands and feet through the openings between the planks in front of them and use the leverage they gained to lift ponderous poundage high in the air. They simply reversed their action to lower the load.
Ingenious? Yes. That is what I thought, until the narrator explained that everything worked well until someone lost concentration and slipped or fell, causing leverage to be lost. The resulting cause and effect allowed the load at the end of the arm to plunge downward at an accelerated rate. The wheel in turn would be sent into a reverse sling-shot spin at hyper speed. It does not take much of an imagination to guess what became of the boys in the blender. Before long "guinea pigs" became scarce and modifications necessary.
The next scene to flash on the screen was of a crane being built in the rain-forests of the Amazon jungle to study the wonders of the canopy. It seems that 90% of the wildlife found there dwell in the upper reaches of the trees. A crane standing at tree top level with a long arm extension capable of a 360 degree radius and an accompanying gondola provide an excellent opportunity to become intimate with the local flora and fauna; an instrument to gain a better understanding of the world we live in.
Much to the delight of my children, the program ended and I forfeited my rights to the remote and they immediately settled in on the Disney Channel. I have little tolerance for the slapstick manner Disney deals with object lessons but I have to concede that they are effective to a certain audience and set a higher standard than much of their competition. I passed on the opportunity to sit in and instead sat out to read a book a friend recommended. The Field by Lynne McTaggert is a fascinating read dealing with scientific evidence of a life force flowing through the universe and thus each and every one of us. I know this is not a new idea because I have read and heard of different interpretations on this theme through practically every culture in existence, The difference here was that the idea was based on scientific study and experiment. As with any variations on scientific or religious thought I am introduced to, I place it in two basic categories I am willing to accept; that which I want to accept and that which I cannot force myself to digest due to lack of formal education or pure stubbornness.
At any rate, there was a section in the book that spoke of support groups and community that sparked my imagination. "Deep in the rain-forests of the Amazon, the Achuar and the Huaorani Indians are assembled for their daily ritual. Every morning, each member of the tribe awakens before dawn, and once gathered together in the twilight hour, as the world explodes into light, they share their dreams. This is not simply an interesting past time, an opportunity for storytelling to the Achuar and Huaorani, rather the dream is owned not by the dreamer alone, but collectively by the group, and the individual dreamer is simply the vessel the dream decided to borrow to have a conversation with the whole tribe. The tribes view the dream as a map for their waking hours. It is a forecaster of what is to come. In dreams they connect with their ancestors and the rest of the universe."
Don't get me wrong, I am not promoting a new wave, total sharing of each and every dream that emerges from the recesses of our gray matter. I am not into self-incrimination; some hallucinations are best left unevaluated. But if all of us were more forthcoming concerning our hopes, dreams and righteous desires maybe those in our support group would understand us better and be more willing to aid in the successful outcome of our wants and needs. As family, friends and human beings, it seems highly probable to positively effect each other and hopefully avoid bad decisions causing a lesser chance of becoming caught up in life's Cuisinart and becoming sliced and diced by some ill-conceived thought or invention.
My wife, Laurie, is forever warning me, "What goes in eventually comes out." I assume she is referring to my addiction to variations on cultural themes and overanalyzing the issues. Art Moore tells me there is a hole in my "belief bucket." The Navajo people assure us that life is a study in 'Hozho," a never ending attempt at harmony and balance. I greatly appreciate those individuals who build cranes to raise themselves up to higher levels of consciousness and attempt to decipher the hard questions. Their sharing of that information is invaluable to me. It seems a worthy goal to develop loftier communication skills and more personal, supportive relationships. I am assuming it is necessary for some of us to spend time roaming around on the jungle floor with the lower life forms looking up and wondering in order to lay a strong foundation. I am sure more study is required.
With warm regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.
Copyright 2006 Twin Rocks Trading Post