Posts Tagged ‘Metropolis’
Posted in Literature, Miscellaneous, tagged Buildings, Cities, Growth, Herman Melville, Literature, Metropolis, Moby Dick, Prophet Jonah, Towers, Urban Development, Whales on February 10, 2013 | 4 Comments »
When I moved to my current home in July, 1980 the place was on the outskirts of the city, just over five miles from downtown. The area was sparsely populated and traffic to our house was almost nonexistent. The brief drive to work was less than fifteen minutes. Now it takes more than two hours to reach downtown Panama.
Thirty years later, the landscape has changed considerably. For the last two decades the city has been expanding rapidly and towers are sprouting like forest mushrooms.
We are currently experiencing every large city’s hallmarks; never-ending traffic, blaring ambulances and police cars sirens, and blaring car horns. The cacophony of the urban noises is definitely deafening to our ears. It will get worse as “progress” continues its path where we live. Gone are the days of quietness and serenity.
In a little more than three decades we have been devoured by the city. I have mixed feelings about urban development in Panama. On one hand hand, it’s good to have abundant jobs for construction workers, more taxes are streaming towards the public coffers, and the wheels of abundance are moving forward. That’s well and good.
On the other hand, you have bumper-to-bumper traffic, deafening noise pollution, and a glass, steel and cement jungle asphyxiating you. I’m increasingly feeling like the biblical prophet Jonah inside the belly of the whale.
“But God is everywhere; Tarshish he never reached. As we have seen, God came upon him in the whale, and swallowed him down to living gulfs of doom, and with swift slanting tore him along, ‘into the midst of the seas,’ where the eddying depths sucked him ten thousand fathoms down, and ‘the weeds were wrapped about his head,’ and all the watery world of woe bowled over him.
Yet even then beyond the reach of any plummet—’out of the belly of hell’—when the whale grounded upon the ocean’s utmost bones, even then, God heard the engulphed, repenting prophet when he cried. Then God spake unto the fish; and from the shuddering cold and blackness of the sea, the whale came breeching up towards the warm and pleasant sun, and all the delights of air and earth; and ‘vomited out Jonah upon the dry land;’ when the word of the Lord came a second time; and Jonah, bruised and beaten—his ears, like two sea-shells, still multitudinously murmuring of the ocean—Jonah did the Almighty’s bidding. And what was that, shipmates? To preach the Truth to the face of Falsehood! That was it!” (Moby Dick: or, The White Whale—Herman Melville)
As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” True, modernization is taking place in Panama City, but we are paying the high price of losing our innocence of peacefulness and quietness. The city is relentless in its indomitable growth. Good Day.