Saturday, June 16, 2018

Walking on Storied Ground


The pattern is holding. With school over, the mind empties out the class plans and has room for other thoughts. Often quirky and surprising and interesting—well, at least to me—ones.

Like biking in SF and passing a restaurant where I lunched with Andy Lampone my first month as a new San Franciscan and deciding to be roommates. Then passing the place in the park near the fuschia garden where we held my daughter Kerala’s first birthday party. And having lived in San Francisco some 45 years now, the thought struck that there’s a story connected to just about everywhere I go, be it walking, biking, driving. Something happened in that place that I can (or can’t) remember, some younger version of myself sharing it with some younger version of someone else and somehow holding the vibration of that memory, mixing what was with what is and also with what still might be.

Of course, this is certainly true at school as I walk down the hall to the kitchen as I have some several thousand times before. And the stories that people my music room, some of which I tell to the kids or to folks in my workshop—well, that’s an epic Scheherezade tale.

This sense of re-tracing old steps with new feet strikes most deeply when we visit our old haunts—our old home in New Jersey, the college campus in Ohio, the place we used to go camping with the school kids and so on. Mostly we’re too busy enjoying or surviving the moment in the daily round to think much about this in our current home. We have the photos of former selves on the wall, so the past is always infused with the present, but we feel it only as a dim presence. As we should if we are doing our job of living in the present.

But every once in a while, for example, as the start of our 62nd school-free summer vacation, we have the luxury of realizing that we walk on storied ground, our past strolling alongside us on one side, our future a couple of steps ahead on the other. It’s a miraculous moment to ponder and like all worthy moments, we can only feel grateful for all that has been, all that is and all that is yet to come.

Happy summer!

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