Friday, September 23, 2022

From the Prison Writing Project



Our lives were once filled with strings, many of which we weren't even aware that they were really even there. Musicians pluck the strings of their instruments to generate fluid waves of sound; drawing feeling and relationship between the strummer and those who hearken to it. Avid gardeners will stretch a string over the earth, whereby they plant their seeds in straight rows; in hopes of a future bountiful alimentary harvest. In times past, women working in their homes wore aprons, and represented safety and nurturing to the toddlers at their feet. As toddlers, we never strayed far from that nurturing safety net with the apron. And therein originates the concept of the "apron strings;" which came to symbolize one attached to another, creating a sense of protection and guidance.

In modern times, we find ourselves attached to the airways of murmured alliance; destitute of the closeness of the strings long past. Instead of plucking the strings with our hands, feeling the vibrations from within, and sending forth our feelings in undulating waves; we rely upon an electronic negotiator to replace the physical touch. It lacks cordiality and the warmth of emotional experience. Planters rows give way to fluorescent malls and plastic bags; no more to feel the warmth of the earth, and the pride of freshly picked sustenance. As we grow older, we each seem to pull away from those strings of the past. Stretching outward, we begin to snap the strings one by one. We can work and connect and play, without ever feeling the warmth of the sun on our faces; the smells of the world outside our door becomes foreboding and apprehensive. And at some point we find ourselves without attachments, nor even obligations, to our origins. The apron strings of our youth are nowhere in sight.

Where is hope without the strings of old? Where is expectation when the cyborg creates without feeling or warmth, but merely replicates by necessity? Hiding behind an artificial safeguard, where prevarication and adjudication abound in separation from truth. Without the strings of old the barriers arise as vacant walls; advancing ever onward toward nothingness. Contriving festering dread and isolation from what was to become our own creation. Absenteeism becomes the abyss we sought to avoid; yet, we continue to advance into nothingness; devoid of physical interaction with the world that engulfs us,

The apron strings of our youth were filled with hope and expectations that were without measure - and they remain all around us; we need only to reach out and grab hold. When the strings become the means of our lives, excepting the tragedy and the joy as a part of the same instrument, the same row, or that same apron of each of our lives; the world we live in becomes less frightening, less barren, and more passionate. The glory of man is not measured in armies and wealth; but rather in the strings he has held onto, and the strings he has created for others. At the end of the day, open hearts and open doors allow strings to reach everyone and everywhere making hope a shared experience for the whole world.