Today, the little Tops and I went on what I suspect will be our last visit to a circus ever.
Let me start by saying it has been a harrowing week, with me discovering my usual walking area being off limits due to a loud shrieking noise coming from the natural gas installation near the coast.
This installation has never been used much, but since the area where the earthquakes are concentrated is now on a low profile as far as gas pumping is concerned, and this stupid stupid country needs all the gas it can get, “our” installation is in full operating mode, producing twice as much as any other installation in the province.
Apart from the shrieking noise, there is this low frequency hum that has been pestering us (well, me mostly, me and my INSANELY SENSITIVE ears => the joys of being highly sensitive). It sometimes goes on for days, then it disappears. Top1 thinks it has to do with all the wind mills that have been placed in this area over the past few years. When they do not turn synchronously, pressure builds up in the air, and this seems to result in a very low frequency sound.
To my dismay, there isn’t much I can do about any of this. Fifteen years ago I chose to live in this so-called “remote area”, opting for what then seemed to be a safe haven of peace and quiet. (You Canadians and Americans would laugh at our remoteness. We could reach Belgium, crossing the country by car, in under four hours. Four hours! Come on! That is not remote!)
Sadly, “remote” to the Dutch seems to equal write-off. Has-been. The dumping place for all that satisfies us in our hopeless addiction to electricity, fossil fuels and the lot.
What I CAN do, is choose my ventures carefully. I do not visit pubs, or festivals, or even cinemas these days. The sound is too loud, the bass is troubling my heart and I get sick to my stomach quite easily.
After a week of sitting around the house all day, working, with white noise on my laptop to counterpart the low frequency hum, and wearing ear plugs regulargly to give my ears a break, this weekend I scheduled a festive outing to a charming little circus stationed not far from our favorite woods. (The word “woods” needs clarification. It is a park, really, belonging to an old estate. There are no woods in this area of the Netherlands, unless you want to get creative and call the many wind mills “modern trees of life”. In that case: welcome to the jungle!)
A circus is not something one would associate with loud noises, wouldn’t you agree? And yet, there I was, just one minute into the show, quivering from the shock. For the next hour or so, the sound level was at least 90 dB, and the bass was unbelievably strong.
I moved as far away as I could, put tissue paper in my ears, and then pressed my fingers against them. I also signalled the DJ. He nodded, but did nothing to accommodate me.
After the show, I was the only one from that audience complaining. The only one! Even for people without sensitive ears, this was unbelievably loud and obnoxious.
“Don’t you people know this could cause permanent hearing loss?” I snapped at the circus people.
They just shrugged. (I bet they couldn’t hear me. Ha!)
I re-ittered my complaint to the guy at the ticket stand. When he said it was under 100 dB and that they had been rated and approved for that level, I went ahead and called their sound policy “criminal”.
“Well, that is your opinion, miss.”
Sure, let’s call “90+ dB causes hearing loss” an opinion. That puts Health and Safety Regulations in a whole new perspective, doesn’t it?
What in God’s name is going on in this country, in the world? Are we really that easily distracted or bored or brain-dead that we NEED insanely loud music to stay focused or become active or feel alive? Or worse, that we forget to stand up for ourselves, our bodies, our temples if you will?
Just now, I did some research and discovered that a staggering 38% of the youngsters (age 12-25) in this country have hearing problems.
38% This is epidemic!!!
Some further research taught me that hearing aids are all the rage. In a town nearby, where a lot of shops are closed due to lack of business, there are now FOUR opticians and TWO hearing aid suppliers…
Doesn’t that reek just a little bit of accepting the consequences of bodily harm, turning it into a profitable business model?
Please, tell me, am I mad for thinking that we humans willingly seem to be wrecking our natural senses?
Today, at the circus, I stayed put, anxious not to spoil the little Tops’ fun as we haven’t had that many options for outings lately, but in future, I’ll take them with me and leave when my complaints are not honoured.
As their mother, I have a duty to protect them whenever I can. I can’t prevent them from going to loud parties when they’re older, but I can teach them about the lifelong consequences of not wearing ear plugs.
(You can check your own hearing here.)
Whilst studying Dabrowski and his theory, I stumbled upon Peace Pilgrim and realized that I had completely forgotten about her. Some twenty years ago, I had read about her, and at that time her simple yet very evocative message of unconditional love didn’t quite stick with me. I guess I was too young, or too confused, or both.
For those of you who do not know her, Peace Pilgrim was a woman who started on a pilgrimage across the US (and later Canada) in the fifties, bringing peace and love and compassion wherever she was welcomed. She did so for decades, until her death in 1981.
Dabrowski would surely categorize her as Level IV, possibly Level V within his Theory of Positive Disintegration. Hearing her talk, she seems so at ease within herself, so clear as to what she is doing in this world. Who could not be inspired by her endurance, her simply BEING in an integrated state for such a long time?
In the book about her life (free download available here), she is quoted thus:
You know the power of thought. You’re constantly creating through thought. And you attract to you whatever you fear (…)
I fear nothing and expect good — so good comes!
Well, that does it. Now I not only want to better myself by understanding the being-gifted thing and utilizing it in the outer world – having for so long focused on surviving it whilst roaming around in the inner world – I also want to overcome this effing feeling of uselessness and become a little more like Peace Pilgrim in my ways.
Though I’ll never be religious, I’ll try and be more faithful to love, and accept that the flow is not only there for me to peruse. It is there to go THROUGH me as well.
(Oh boy, have I got my work cut out for me!)
When I suggested this topic, it was because of the saying “Let bygones be bygones.”
And indeed, when it comes to quarrels and arguments from the past, sometimes (most of the time) it is best to let go. Letting go, I have learnt over the years, does not necessarily mean that you concur with the other persons view. Mostly, it means you agree to disagree, and thus you accept the status quo.
There are many status quo items I need to accept at the moment. So, I was very pleased to find one status quo I could do something about – and it involves bygones! Yes, siree!
You see, although Top1 is a collector in his own right, some of his collectables are in fact hand-me-downs from his father and his friends. We own a large amount of old books, with beautiful vintage etchings and drawings, mainly from the Victorian Age (roughly 1850-1900). Back in the hippie days, the previous owners cut out (parts of) these etchings for collage work.
The books are not intact, but most of the remaining etchings are! And though we’ve found that some people have made these available for download through Shutterstock, I think the etchings deserve another audience.
Their current status quo is just sitting there, in their book, biding their time. We’re now helping them to go and tour the world once again.
Firstly, we’ve created an Etsy shop called Tour Du Monde (Vintage Etchings Instant Download), where we provide crafters from all over the world with high resolution scans from our books. (Will be adding new scans every week.)
And secondly, for my own entertainment and to show what can be done with old etchings and new techniques, we’ve opened a RedBubble shop also called Tour Du Monde, where we provide digitally altered images to be used on posters, as matted prints, even framed if you want. (See image below. Will be producing new art every week.)
Will you help us not letting these bygones be bygones and spread the word? They really deserve a breather, after all these years in stuffy old books.
PS All links are gathered in one new site at Blogger: Tour Du Monde Vintage Etchings.