As Time Goes By

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

Walt Whitman, from Leave of Grass (1900)

Some of us are gratified by one season, one harvest in our life time seems even fortunate when we compare ourselves to the growing pains that American middle class families are having to endure.  America the beautiful is losing some of its sheen, some of the luster of the shinning city of light on the hill may be looking dull compared to Dubai or even Shanghai.

As a freshman in college I recall with tremendous admiration reading Walt Whitman’s, “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry.”  I remember most that it felt like he was talking to me.  here it was some hundred years hence and I felt like I was engaged in a conversation with a man that I admired but had died generations before i was born.  I love the connection that Walt Whitman made with me.

Time and age has crept up on me since those first readings almost half a century ago.  I heard a pertinent comment made by Garrison Keillor from A Prairie Home Companion on his radio show a few weeks ago.  He was commenting about his 50th high school reunion that he was planning on attending.  He said to put time in perspective regarding what the kids of today must think of us think of it this way, when you were in high school and you heard that the class of 1910 had just reserved the auditorium what on earth would you have thought of that.  So time seems to measure differently when you view it in retrospect as opposed to when you view it in the future.

From where I stand i can look back fifty years and I can look forward fifty years.  Looking back seems like only yesterday when they are your fifty years that you are looking at.. But, to look forward to what life will be like in the year 2060;  well, I simply have no way to fathom that.

January, 2011

Ft. Pierce, Florida

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One comment on “As Time Goes By

  1. Dave the Carpenter says:

    I have thought long and hard about the American Dream and have arrived at an epiphany: it was all a self-serving ruse, intended to squeeze the maximum effort from an unsuspecting working class, thereby achieving maximum benefit for business and industry.

    There was never any altruism attending this paradigm because there can never be economic utopia for the masses; i.e., not everyone can play golf, travel the world and just generally be trifling. It is not exactly accurate for me to say I have only now reached these conclusions. I knew it thirty or more years ago, but could not figure a practical way out of the labyrinth. So, I just played along.

    It has not been so bad, really (he tells himself, with a tinge of sarchasm.) I have (for now) a roof over my head and food to eat. I am not dodging bullets and bombs. And, well, even rich people get old, don’t they?

    John F. Kennedy was honest about this American Dream masquerade. He said we ought not ask what our country can do for us, but what we can do for it. Like it or no, that is the real meaning of the American Dream. Always has been.

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