Youth, Danger, Immortality And Truth

Beauty and the Beast


St. Croix River


I grew up on the banks of the St. Croix River in Taylors Falls, Minnesota. The area is a composite of extreme age, exquisite beauty, and invisible danger. Extreme age because the exposed rocks in this area are some of the oldest on the planet. Exquisite beauty made obvious by the above image. And the invisible danger made palpable by the numerous lives taken each year by this most taunting environment.

I grew up in this ambiguous climate. As a child of merely seven years old, I climbed the bluffs, jumped from crevasse to deadly crevasse, and daringly bullied my way through “Do Not Trespass” signs posted by private owners, but mostly by the State trying to protect me from my oblivious, childish mind. I was invincible!

I explored the numerous caves in the area, no doubt with visions of being a mighty explorer able and willing to stand fast and defend my ‘camp’ and friends. Those were the days… some of the happiest memories of my life.


Little did my young mind realize the deadly truth of the situation. The bluffs were sheer and plummeted several hundred feet below. The crevasses were pits waiting to take me into their deadly arms with ne’er a thought of release. And the caves were potential tombs in which to be buried alive, a most gruesome end.

Neither did these thoughts enter the minds of anyone else, it would seem. My parents didn’t give it a second thought, or were they alone since no other citizen of the day gave it a second thought. Children will play; children will get hurt; some will die; that is life.


That was then. This is now, and things have certainly changed. Children can no longer expect to ride a bicycle without a helmet, knee-pads, elbow-pads, and countless other defenses against injury. They can no longer play without supervision lest they be harmed in some way. Whenever a child gets “damaged” a new law is enacted that will blame somebody for the child’s misadventure, and also try to enforce a new form of behavior, not only on the children, but their guardians, as well.

This is unfortunate in so many ways. The laws cannot be enforced in an equitable way, the guardians are never equally at fault, and the poor children are deprived of that luscious adventure, that most liberating of times, called “childhood”. That part of life we cherish in our aging memories when we recall those moments we nearly drowned, or almost fell off a cliff to our death, or actually did break an arm falling out of a tree. We bring these very important thoughts with us to our graves and, I think, with a certain amount of pride. It may even help to give us a modicum of self-respect, and allow us to pump up our chests, and help to keep us going in the hard times that may come our way. It gives us the strength, imagined or otherwise, to persevere.

Immortality is fiction. No amount of “protection” is going to create it. Whenever you hear the words “Safety” or “Protection”, remember to replace those with the word “Control”. Nannies love control.

A couple days ago, the St. Croix River took yet another life. This time it was a tourist, an adult, tempted by beauty into taking pictures, who then slipped on the devilish, water-stained rocks of one of the most beautiful rivers in this country. I’m sure there will be new fences placed and new laws enforced in an attempt to forestall yet another untimely death. But to what end, I ask? How many laws will it take to achieve Immortality?


Death is a fact of life. Until technology allows us to replace body parts ad infinitum that will be the dirty truth. No amount of legislation, or parental supervision, or safety equipment, is going to guarantee our children’s safety.


A Flower Display in Lowell Park

For clarification, the above image shows Lowell Park inundated by flood waters. This is unusual for this time of year (July 2016); this floral display is normally easily accessible on foot and stands at least hip-high. The old St. Croix is once again up to its old devious mischief– combining beauty with death, teasing the naive.

What will happen is that these efforts will only diminish the wonder of young life, and once again augment the illusory notion of Freedom.

What won‘t happen is the lessening of the inherent dangers of living. If you believe more laws will result in greater safety, that would be malarkey, plain and simple. And you will have been duped… by the state… once again… no doubt.

I am very happy indeed that I was born during a time when I was left to my own devices, without state intervention. A time when my decisions were my own. A time when I truly felt free, and maybe, just maybe, actually was. Regretfully, that Freedom no longer exists today. It’s an illusion– a self-perpetuating illusion.

Today’s children are living in state-controlled environments called “schools”. Guardians are told by the state how to dress and protect their children. Children can’t even run a lemonade stand outside their home without a state-issued license. (I always thought that was a business and PR learning-experience.) What the hell happened!

I wouldn’t give up the dangers of the cliffs, the possibility of drowning in the beautiful St. Croix, the mysterious live burial in a cave, or even being trapped in a crevasse, for all the knee-pads, helmets, and safety devices in China. (It’s a guess, but I’ll take it on a bet there’s a bunch of ’em.) My childhood is precious, and my memories of those times, especially in older years when I’m feeling so alone, even more so.

What memories will my Grand-Children have? Which state-sanctioned harness will they remember as being the least cumbersome? Will they even be allowed to climb a tree? Or no, they might get hurt.


Note: The above statements are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Dave’s Computer Tips or its affiliates.

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About the Author

Richard Pedersen

Richard received his first computer, a C-64, in 1982 as a gift and began dabbling in BASIC. He was hooked! His love for computing has led him from the old “XT” boxes to the more modern fare and from clunky 10MB hard drives to smooth and fast modern day SSD drives. He has run BBS services, Fido mail, and even operated his own computer repair business.

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