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Time Flying By as Writer Takes It All In
"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may - Old time is fast a-flying ... " --- Lovelace
Oh dear! Another birthday this week! Thoreau and other philosophers urge us to live consciously rather than just "sleepwalking" through life. They're saying wake up and smell the roses before it's too late. Alas! I have been a charter member of the too soon old, too late smart club.
Oh it's a long, long time from May to December -
But the days grow short when you reach September.
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,
One hasn't got time for the waiting game.
Oh the days dwindle down to a precious few -
September ... November ...
Written in 1938 by Kurt Weill, the lovely “September Song” has been recorded by many singers, including Sinatra, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Durante.
Here in the "November" of my years, as I look back at the hills and valleys and the occasional mountain peaks and ocean depths of my life's journey through time, I find it stimulating to encounter young people in the springtime of their lives who are just setting forth on their journeys and to stand on the platform and wave to them as their train pulls out of the station.
"Bon voyage!" I think.
Gibran wrote in The Prophet that we cannot enter the house of our children - not even in our dreams - because they dwell in the future. We live in the same world and share the common characteristics of the human critter, but Kathleen Angelone's daughter and son and my grandsons are going to inhabit a realm that will be terra incognita to me.
If the human mind can conceive a thing, eventually it will happen. The visions of Leonardo da Vinci, who foresaw aircraft, and Jules Verne, who imagined a mighty submarine, have come to pass. Benjamin Franklin, James Watt, Thomas Alva Edison and Henry Ford would be dumbfounded could they see the results of their discoveries and inventions. A Colliers magazine article many years ago predicted people living on a structure floating in space. The space shuttle has just docked at the Space Station. Also, the latest Mars lander indicates that there may be ice there, suggesting the possibility of sustaining life on Mars - long a subject of speculation. In my grandsons' lifetime, space travel will be routine, and their children will take pleasure trips to other galaxies - that is, if we haven't used our technology to blow ourselves up first!
Tony and Chris spent a few days with us last week. Their tiny cell phones amaze me. Think of it: taking pictures, sending texts and listening to music on a telephone! They can play thousands of songs and even turn up the names of tunes that they don't recognize. I haven't even figured out how to run the VCR or program a phone.
With instant communication and inexpensive air travel, it is no wonder that the younger generation's world and political view has expanded beyond mine. Where we looked mainly to Europe, their view includes exotic countries in the Far East and Latin America.
Rosa and Paul Angelone, daughter and son of Kathleen, about whose European stay I wrote last week, are as adventurous as she was. They bring to mind other adventurous people such as Lady Hester Stanhope, who forsook Victorian England and lit out for the high Lebanon during an era when women didn't travel alone. That's one of the characteristics of adventurous spirits: They don't have to be constantly surrounded by people whom they know. They are self-reliant. Kathleen says that she would have slept under bridges before she would have admitted to her parents that she was in trouble and asked them for money.
As I sit here at age 71 - eek! - my back isn't hurting, and I feel full of energy. Inside, I feel like 30! I muse about dreaming up some exotic adventure for Bill and me a la Jack Nickolson in The Bucket List. Perhaps we could hike in the foothills of the Himalayas and get a view of Mount Everest, visit the Amazonian jungle, take up spelunking or journey across Russia on the Trans-Siberian Railway-the world's longest-from Moscow to Vladivostok. Then common sense returns: How would I walk mountain paths with my rollator? What about the spiders in the jungle?
My goal this summer is to become really proficient at grill cookery. After all, isn't it the journey that's important, rather than the destination? However, perhaps I should resist being governed by common sense and live more according to uncommon sense.
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