16 August 2016

Not Dark Yet

I finish my 69th year today and enter into my seventh decade. And I am on the nearest thing to a road trip as I’m ever likely to take, I think. I am in Madison with my younger daughter who this Fall will be starting her graduate study in Social Work at the University of Wisconsin. Tomorrow I head to Chicago to visit with an older daughter (who is clearly not that much older) who is a Social Worker at present after having graduated from the University of Chicago School of Social Administration. I would say that each has done well, and I suspect will continue to do so. And maybe I too have done well enough.
     I compose now on my MacBook Air surrounded on the table by my iPhone and iPad. I won’t be here in another 69 years, but who could have imagined this world 69 years ago? Perhaps all I can acknowledge is that the future can’t be foreseen: it exists as an anticipation but what it brings can never be known until the present, and the future can be understood only too late as a past. But as I sit here now listening to Emmylou and Gram Parson knowing what and whom I know, I feel happy.            
     I’m not done thinking and I’ve got a few fun ideas. There is an apocryphal tale told of John Dewey. A story is told: John Dewey taught at Teacher’s College in Manhattan for years and there exists an apocryphal story told of his classroom. Professor Dewey would stand by the window looking out onto Broadway, a very busy thoroughfare, and he would talk to a full classroom as I intend to do today. Students would listen attentively, maybe some even took notes. After all, they were listening to one of the foremost philosophers and educators in the United States. But it was said that as Dewey talked he continued to look out of the window onto the human traffic on the busy street below. He might even talk for the full hour! Then, at the end of the hour having never once moved from his window looking outward, he would turn to the class, emit a sigh of satisfaction and announce, “Well, that is all very clear to me now; I think I understand this matter all a bit better. Thank you all very much.” And then he would dismiss the class. Today here I am entering into my 70th year. I am sitting quietly at a bar sipping a Macallan 12 (one-ice cube, please)—and out front there is no Broadway teeming with traffic. I am certainly not John Dewey! But I have a few things left to say, and I guess I’m going to have to say them. There are yet a few things still to understand.


Post a Comment

<< Home