We went by the Flame of Knowledge today. It's been a long time since we've been there. I stopped and stared at it. "The Torch of Knowledge will light the way," a plaque says under the torch. Many sculpted hands hold it up.
The torch was lit on Earth and traveled here on the first settlement ships. The flame has never gone out. We were out and about because my wife and I have the wherewithal to buy a new house. We have two children, a boy and a girl. They're growing and need the space. We've been thinking we'd buy something in the historic First Landing District or the Spaceport District but housing is expensive there. Right now, we live in the Second Dome region, off Old School Way. They call our area Second Dome although the domes have been gone my entire life, just as the Spaceport has been long gone from that district. The domes were in existence when my parents first landed planetside. They were just children and didn't know each other. They were third generation domers. Dad used to tell me what it was like in the dome and the year that they dismantled it, and how scary it was. I did know the Old School, although I never went there. It burned down was I was a child. The Corporate Lands are gone, too, banished by law after the revolution, although a patch of the land remains with statues to commemorate the battles down on Freedom Plaza. The churches still have their sites and buildings, too. No one attends church in any of the buildings but we keep them as memorials of who we were and sometimes use them for weddings.
My wife and I are considering buying in the Farming District or Market Area. Both are closer to the river but are more expensive. No one lives by the river, by law, so all may share its beauty, and also to protect people against building there. The weather is mostly controlled but sometimes things go awry and a flood happens, as it did once, thirty years ago. It's safer not to let people build there.
The Industrial Zone has been renamed the Neal Armstrong subdivision. They're offering some very nice mixed used locations, above stores and other business, but we decided that we want a yard. We want a white picket fence and flower beds and oak trees, like they used to have on Earth. I want to travel there someday and see where my ancestors to the tenth degree lived, our first world, just to see what it's like and to breath the air that they breathed. It's a slim dream but I'm saving up the money. Who knows? Maybe someday I'll have enough.
Stranger things have happened.
Now...the rest of the story.....
All of this is just ruminating. I walked through the Railroad District here in Ashland, where the trains are silent and the rails are rusting, and thought about how things are named. Ashland is named for the people who immigrated here from places named Ashland back in the eastern United States; I don't know how those original towns were named by their first settlers. People live in the Mill Pond housing area where there is no mill or pond. They walk down streets named after the first mayors and settlers, live in subdivisions named after Native American Indian tribes that no longer exist and pay tribute through name to industries and enterprises that have vanished. Buildings are named for the corporations that put them up, corporations that are no longer are in the area. Some still exist, like JC Penny, but others do not. We pass by statues for pioneers and few know who they were. Most never seem to give the statues a glance. It was the same down in the SF Bay Area where people lived in the Mission District, or the Lemon Tree apartment, or Cherry Orchard condos. By serendipity, my thinking happened as news spread that the the first man to set foot on the moon - to our knowledge - passed away.
That's how history is built, layer upon layer on the old, often told by the victors, and in the course of it, what was once celebrated, mourned or remembered, becomes history and passes from memory into books, films and legends. So, walking around my town, I imagined a new settlement on a new world and how things might be named and the pace of life and change.
Just a little Sunday morning science fiction fun.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com