One of the perils of doing the work that we do at The Running Iron Report is that there’s a tendency to focus on the negative. While we’re certainly about diagnosing the illnesses of the Empire, our true purpose is scouting out a path to a worthy, honorable way of living in these strange times. We cannot afford cheap and easy cynicism.
One of the beartraps along the trail is the notion that all is lost with a coming generation that is digitally addicted, obese, physically weak, and inclined to emotional incontinence. To be sure, evidence of all of this is found readily to hand. But evidence to the contrary is often ignored or overlooked. Despite our dire fears, I say the kids are alright. At least some of ’em are. I give you as Exhibit A, my weekend with The Meddling Kids.
We rented a seven-passenger minivan for Memorial Day weekend and hauled daughter Ceili and five of her University of Oregon tribe across the mountains for a couple of days of hiking and feasting and music. What a grand weekend it was! The weather gods graced us with fine, fair days — never promised in Central Oregon in spring. We hiked along the Metolius River, one of the most scenic spots in the Pacific Northwest, and we drank in the fantastical skyline of the Cascades. My wife Marilyn fed the starving college students spectacularly on excellent meats from Sisters Meat & Smokehouse. On Sunday the Rullmans joined us and Craig and young Will talked bees. Pete Rathbun provided sound gear and smack talk at the archery butts.
These are fit young folk, healthy in body and spirit, engaged in life; they are experience-oriented. They care deeply about each other and are authentically who they are, without pretense. The lads showed a fitting propensity to heave rocks and large sticks over cliffs and into rivers, as young men must. They are appreciative, helpful and have a work ethic that their generation allegedly spurns. They have a plan for the Zombie Apocalypse.
They are musical and poetical — we had us one fine guitar pull and a 30+ year age gap was as nothing. To have a couple of 19-year-olds initiate the singing of a 300-year-old Scottish song — “The Parting Glass” — pleases me in ways that are difficult to articulate.
Yep: The kids are alright.