Handing off the torch, passing on the flame.
In today's world we must foster a fluid identity to survive as part of modern society. For many, if not most of us, it is an unsettling and sometimes coercive society we live in to say the least. Tradition has been used negatively as a contrast to being original and unique, but innovation, in fact, is how many traditions originated. Yet the concept of tradition, as the notion of holding on to the customs of a previous time, persists. Fly fishing and wing shooting are loaded with tradition, as is cooking, the arts, science, farming, the holidays, and sports.
Tradition is not to preserve the ashes. But to pass on the flame. ~ Gustav Mahler
Recently, I asked some friends the question: "What are the first words you think of when you hear the words "tradition” and "heritage"? I received a variety of answers.
One replied, “Tevye, the word appears and the song is in my head.” Another said “MSU football and Oktoberfest”. Yet another said, “The Last Weekend of April on a special little stream.” Then finally, “Tradition = family celebrations, Heritage = something inherited from the past and stewarded for future generations.”, which was more like what I was expecting.
The fellow in the photo above (on right) is a true traditionalist - former cowhand, horseman, hunter and trapper, rode in the rodeo circuit for years, now lives in a wood-warmed adobe house in the Datil mountain foothills. No electricity. Outhouse. His name is John. He loves the old saloons. He still has skirmishes with local Indians he says. They steal his horses. He steals theirs. Things get heated but nobody gets seriously hurt. It's kind of a tradition he says.
The broad scope of answers and experiences underscored that “tradition” means many things to many people. Tradition is the here and now linking a revered past to an unsteady future. Tradition is the fletching on the arrow that stabilizes the flight of our lives and times. Tradition celebrates. - WES:::