As the summer dwindles and we all realize that it’s days are numbered I look around and see that the season has left a distinct itch in the air. With all of the time spent floating down rivers, sailing junk ships, and feeling the tightness of sun crisped skin, the thought of exodus has invaded the city. It seems that we’ve all started to question what exactly keeps us in our urban world. I’ve heard plans of buying land in the country, seen tattoo homages to the woods, and cracked champagne over newly purchased boats. And in doing so, I felt equally compelled to run away into the sunset
I can’t help but be reminded of Rousseau’s noble savage. Not because I’m as douchey as that sounds, but because I’m living out exactly what he wrote about. I can see how at home we all are around campfires, each of us enjoying our own form of childlike amusement without any worry or awareness of doing so. Which, truth be told, is a sight I rarely if ever see in the city. Rousseau explains this fact with his theory that society brings about the burden of pride into man’s life. He argues that pride is a product of our participation in activities that have nothing to do with human needs.That in our style, and desk jobs, and appearances at appropriate locations we have bred a culture of unnecessary comparison to others. In his mind, this leads to unwarranted fear and the fact that we take pleasure in the pain or weakness of those around us. Now I’m not saying I necessarily agree with all of this but I do think it’s interesting that in the country, lying under the stars or in the shade of a tree is simply enough.
Of course logistically I doubt that many of our dreams of escape will become reality; nor do I know how many should. The truth is that I’m surrounded by folks who do and make amazing/beautiful things here in the city and I would never want those to go away. There can be no winner in my theoretical debate. However, since it is only August that is coming to a close, there is still time for the us to indulge in the fantasy. I for one plan to scratch the itch for as long as I can. That, or until it makes a weird patch on my skin- whichever comes first.