Saturday, June 11, 2011


For such a large portion of my life I was a young person, never giving a thought to being an old person

However, a few days before Easter, as I prepared to be seventy-five, I was in the back yard digging a trench for a burial cable which had electrified a deck for a score and five, but no longer had a deck to serve. It would now serve a corner post of the patio cover.

I was sitting on the ground, surrounded by a mattock, a shovel, a sharpshooter and 5' crowbar, the digging tools of a younger man. I realized that I had decided that they were faster, but required more energy than I cared to exert. My tools of choice were a garden trowel and a hand-hoe/cultivator, and patience.

Whenever I’m working on a project now, trying to determine the less physically taxing way to do it in lieu of the fastest, I often think of the dawn of civilization, when manpower and time were much more abundant than tools.

The most convincing theories have always seemed to credit women with the discovery of agriculture. I personally feel that from the beginning, the stronger sex has delegated the more menial and less adventurous tasks to the less physically endowed. Consequently, rather than being faced with the tedious task of packing up to reestablish their homes each time a herd moved on, or the berry-picking season opened in a different area, Woman’s creativity permitted humankind to “settle down”, to manage crops and animals rather than chase them helter-skelter.

Knowing now, in these years when everything is heavier and more difficult than it used to be, I’ve become convinced that it was women and elderly people, lacking brute strength, who created tools and agriculture, the elements of civilization, while the young bucks were content with roaming around and improving their weapons.

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