As I grow older, I find moments are often more complicated than just one emotion. Something can be amazing and yet troubling, sad and yet with an element of celebration. All three of these 2018 moments come with such mixed emotions.
April: The First Flight
Standing where the Wright brothers took of for each of their four flights, then walking down the narrow runway to where each landed made me realize how far aviation has come since that day in December, 1903. A hundred years later, I thought nothing of spending 14 hours in a metal tube every month or so, being hurtled to the other side of the globe on business trips.
Seeing this place, though, and not being able to call my Dad and tell him about it made me realize once again how much I miss the old man. He would have loved a postcard from here, or a hat. I always got him the hat. He liked the SR-71 “Blackbird” hat the best.
May: Old Friends, Minus One
A few lifetimes ago, I worked on the Clearwater, sailing up and down the Hudson River (and Long Island Sound) and that’s where I met these fine people, who all still live in the Hudson Valley. We had a wonderful potluck dinner (thanks, everyone!) hosted by that couple on the far left (thanks again!) and told stories on and about each other all evening long as we caught up on current events.
We all knew one person who wasn’t there with us, our friend, Michele, who passed away too young at 33, so many years ago but still in our hearts. After dessert, we had a toast and I snapped this photo to send to her sister, so she’d know we still thought of Michele with so much love.
October: The Fight Continues
Growing up in California, the whole Civil Rights movement felt far away, something on TV or in magazines. It was only in the last few years that I started getting “woke” as they say and realized how much freedom my white privilege gives me as I wander through this world.
To get to this South Carolina monument to courage and freedom and the continuing struggle for civil rights, I had to walk by a taller, more visible monument celebrating Confederate soldiers. The irony did not escape me. Spending time in the South this year has made me realize how much I don’t know, and so I’m reading all kinds of books and articles and planning a pilgrimage through Southern civil rights sites in 2019.
The compensation of growing old [is] that the passions remain as strong as ever, but one has gained — at last! — the power which adds the supreme flavour to existence, — the power of taking hold of experience, of turning it around, slowly, in the light.
Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway