People today are connected to the world—to everything— so it’s no wonder we feel so stressed. On the other hand, I heard PBS News hour – or so I believe—report that “70 million people in rural China live on less than $1.00 a day.” How odd that we know so much, have so much, and are so blessed when there are millions who still suffer. It’s a wonder we aren’t all mentally deranged or schizophrenic! Wordsworth said it well, “The world is too much with us…”
And yet autumn comes with beauties we cannot deny. I remember teaching a little troop of Girl Scouts the following ditty, “Always be fair/Always be true/ Always paddle/ Your own canoe.” I also made them memorize Langston Hughes’ poem “Dreams”—Hold fast to dreams/For if dreams die/ Life is a broken-winged bird/That cannot fly./ Hold fast to dreams/ For when dreams go/Life is a barren field/Frozen with snow.”
I minored in political science in college—and French. Back then there were no language labs, so the French I learned was visual—reading and translating, but not speaking. The professor had a fine degree from Middlebury College and spoke fluent French so, no doubt, he was beside himself by our feeble attempts “to master the language.” But I excelled in political science. It was English—a result of the western civilization of law and order, descended from the Greeks and the Romans. Still a “political junkie,” I try to keep up with the goings-ons in government, and I try to do it with an open mind. Time has away of dimming issues. History exists, and it’s there for us to study so we don’t make mistakes over and over again. We shouldn’t be erasing facts, taking down plaques, tearing down monuments because we don’t like them or don’t agree with them in this day and age. If Google indeed “knows everything,” we have no excuse. We can find out why events happened, who was involved, where they took place, and the conditions that led to such troubles.
Veterans know facts and have seen historic events. We must honor them as well as our culture, our way of life, our history, and our blessings and we must keep our dreams alive. We must stay fair and true and sometimes paddle our own canoes. November is the month we honor our veterans, and here is my little tribute: We honor veterans in odd ways/ Sometimes bending at the knee on autumn’s earth/Burying bulbs, thinking of crocus/Remembering dreams we held/ When we were young, feisty and unafraid.