Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part XLIII: Ever in Wonder


July 3, 2017, Carson City-

Along the path to Grama’s, I walked.

That path crossed a road,

and for crossing alone,

I felt a sting on my backside.

There are limits to what a three-year-old

can do, alone.

Along the path to the shopping center, I walked.

That path crossed several roads,

and for being alone,

I was briefly accosted,

by a couple of ruffians,

and almost struck by a wayward car,

that had jumped the curb.

There are challenges,

for a nine-year-old,

when walking, alone.

I sat in the airplane,

gazing out at the clouds,

and their patterns.

I was seeing for the first time, at their level.

The path through the skies,

held promise

and peril.

Many are the possibilities,

for an eighteen-year-old,

striking out, on his own.

Turning around,

in that crowded,

light-filled, noisy room,

I returned the gaze of one,

who had seen something in me,

that others overlooked.

My path was no longer

for me to walk in single file.

Life brings affirmations,

to a thirty-year-old,

who need not be alone.

Holding the little being

to the light,

I spoke words of welcome.

My line now continued,

for at least one more generation.

The Universe sang songs

of certitude,

to a new father,

listening, alone.

Father and son walked

from the car,

towards the hospice door,

and witnessed the wispy spiral

carrying dust and leaves skyward.

I touched her still-warm body,

and kissed her face,

with her eyes still open,

in seeming astonishment.

The path is ever-shaky,

for a sixty-year-old,

once again, alone.

Time and again, since then,

I have followed things through,

to completion,

having been roundly chastised,

by a well-meaning watchman,

for all those things,

I did not finish,

in times gone by.

The paths have been many,

and the rewards even greater:

Filbert Steps, Portlandia,

Space Needle, Stanley Park,

Wrangell, Mendenhall,

Mount Verstovia, Beuk-ai Temple,

Tuileries, Jeanne d’Arc’s Tower,

Mont St. Michel, Carnac,

Daily Gourmand, Old Bruges,

World Cup rally at the Bourse,

McAuliffe Square,

Luxembourg’s National Day,

the Dom of Frankfurt,

the Temple at Langenhain,

Waikiki, Iolani Palace.

The paths have seen me through,

to their ends:

Prescott Circle,

Black Canyon,

Granite Mountain,

and the Memorial to

its 19 Hotshots,

Bright Angel,

Spirit Tower.

The trails continue,

and the wonder,

at the limitless,

open to a sixty-six-year-old,

who  feels far from alone.









The Road to 65, Mile 293: Transition


September 16, 2015, Prescott-  Someone remarked to me, online,this evening, that my generation is finished and that I should get in my “slot”, with regard to working with youth.  I know enough about this person to understand that he was just trying to get a rise out of me.  It didn’t work, in that way, but it did strike me as ironic,as did his plaint that I was “bouncing around too much”.

The irony is that I have entered  a five-year period of relative settlement, following four years of “bouncing around”.  At a time in life when many people, especially those in the Western countries, almost demand that we retire from work, and berate those who don’t, I am returning to a regular work schedule.  The reasons are two:  First, I am not ready to leave the world of education behind.  Second, another Western value is that we remain independent and do not burden others, financially.

I recently read of a woman, age 100, who is still working as an educator. I applaud her! In my case, I plan to work until age 70, take a two-year sabbatical of focused travel, then return to work for three more years or so.  I think 75 will be a good age for me to stop gainful employment, but I don’t know as I will ever occupy a “slot”, determined by others.  Conversely, I don’t ever presume to think I will know what is best for others.

So, as my transition back to having a room full of children as my daily, and long-term, responsibility begins, and I get acquainted with my students, starting next week, I ask the gadfly, and all others who look askance at those of us who do not go gently into that good night, to stay tuned.  I have lots left.