Superman never made any money for saving the world from Solomon Grundy

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pax Walaka

The pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus is quoted as saying "You cannot step twice into the same river." While this is an oversimplification of this metaphysics of flux, I feel the emotional weight of the sentiment tonight.

Otis has an extended evening appointment, so, as usual, I determined to make myself scarce for the duration. I came up here to Greenwood and stopped to browse at Gary's Games for a while before settling in at the Wayward Coffeehouse for some laptopping.

Now, I am sure I have made this same expedition sometime in the past, about a year ago; if a brave soul wants to search HKC, she could probably find such a trip documented. But this time it was different. Back then, I was involved in an ongoing D&D campaign and was immersing myself in the conventions and mechanics of the game; every figurine, book, or accessory was a discovery and a potential treasure. Now, with our RPG days seemingly behind us, it seemed a hollow exercise; there is no one to share the discoveries with, no chance to implement any of the knowledge or use any of the tools, and no wrangling over the merits of ideas or details. Back then, I would have come over here and pounded out a blog entry, maybe about the game, maybe about work, maybe about what I had for lunch; in any case, it would have been another small tile in the greater mosaic that was my blogging then. Now, my blogging is spotty and the current site is pretty much shuttered, except for infrequent visits like this one, and the posts don't build to any critical mass. The movements are the same, but the sense is completely different.

It's not like my awareness of this constant state of change is a revelation; it is not that realization that I offer tonight, since it is by now a commonplace. This particular manifestation of that truth, however banal, inspired another thought: that in our lives, from time to time, we have our own personal versions of the Golden Age.

The Golden Age: Greece had one, and so did Rome; Islam had one, and likewise Christianity. Movies have one, as do television and comics and just about any other field of human endeavor. And we each have one or more of our own - those periods of time when, at least in retrospect, things seem to have been idyllic and organic and picture-perfect.

And as much as I know that it wasn't true (it was actually a pretty rough time around our household), the circumstances around that first D&D Campaign seem that way to me now. Seen in the rosy glow of hindsight, they were halcyon days, everything seemed to be working the way it needed to, at least where that regular, every-Friday get-together was concerned; god was in her heaven and all was right with the world.

There have been other Golden Ages in my past: six months at the Greenlake Library, when the entire crew meshed like the gearing on a Swiss watch; perhaps at year at Clark College Security, when the demand for service and the resources available were in balance and everyone played their role with gusto. All of those times came to an end; in fact, it may be the case that a Golden Age can only be identified in retrospect, and that we never know how good we have had it until it is over.

And that may actually be a cheery thought. While other Golden Ages have ended, we can't know that we're not in another one right now. My current game-playing and blogging may seem to pale in comparison to some half-remembered and mostly-imagined past experience, but who knows where the river I have stepped in will take me next? I am doing all sorts of new things. As long as I keep moving, and exploring, and experiencing, I could easily strike gold again.


John said...

Walter, for various reasons, I really like this piece of writing. The bittersweet quality of it... the combination of vulnerability and perspective. It seems equally wise and human.

And to think, I was about to delete WalakaNet as a dead link. ;)

Walaka said...

Thanks, big guy.

Lyle said...

Walter, this hit me, too. I understand about D&D Golden ages especially well, I feel. Nicely written.

Walaka said...

You must be the master of D&D golden ages, Lyle.

Don't worry - we'll cook something up for summer.