365 Days of Earrings

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Still willing to wander

I live about an hour and a half from the National Mall in Washington, DC, but I hadn't visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, the FDR Memorial, or the World War II Memorial until today. I chose to wear the earrings that I've come to see as "a long and winding road." When I first bought this pair, I called them squiggly. Today, when I look at them, I see life's long and wandering path.

I met my high school friend, Carolyn, at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. We'd decided we'd spend the day walking and talking, wherever the spirit moved. I spent a while alone, deeply moved by the inscriptions at the MLK memorial. We were both impressed by the symbolism of the FDR Memorial. And discomfitted as a man joined this line to pose for a photo, shouting into the face of the man in the front, "Get a job!"  We wandered on.

Carolyn and I were together daily during the school years 1972-3 and 1973-4, our junior and senior years. I remember forays into DC for the Folk Life Festival, movies, and art exhibits, some by bus and some in my family's Pontiac station wagon, always a long and winding road. We enjoyed a rainy backpacking trip during our final high school spring break with the school outdoor club. We shared this spread in our senior yearbook.

Carolyn and I saw each other a bit when we both lived in Ann Arbor, MI for a few years in the late 1970's and early 1980's. We last met at the National Zoo in about 1995--she with her two young sons, me with my three young kids.

Today the two of us wandered around Washington, DC, catching up on the past 40 years-- our work, our kids, our parents, what we know of our classmates from long ago.

Those quotes in my yearbook?

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear
I learn by going where I have to go.
                     - Theodore Roethke

Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand wavin' free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
      -Bob Dylan

Carolyn and I have taken some long and winding roads. I'm glad they led us back together today, still friends, still willing to wander.

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