Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Burn Barrels and Creativity
I remember every house in the village of Burlington, Indiana having a rusty burn barrel out back. Everyone burned trash without worrying about toxins being released. Grandma's barrel rested on concrete blocks, a square opening cut in the lower half, so ashes could be shoveled out, and used in the garden. My uncle and I (uncles close enough in age to be brothers) would play war, watch the burning post-bomb trash. No worries; we knew the dangers of fire, how to safely light a match. Sometimes we made elaborate scenes in the cooled ash; pot metal army figures carefully placed around leftover bits of glass and tin.
Children's freedoms have declined since I was a girl. Maybe the world is a more dangerous place, but children seem overprotected. I wonder about the long-term outcome, as far as creativity is concerned. How will this affect the arts on all levels? Nothing compares with wild exploration, digging a hole, discovering creatures in the clouds, riding a bicycle without a helmet, feeling the exhilaration of wind in your hair.
* Burn Barrel by Matthew Daub