Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ocelots, Darling Young Men ... Friends for Life

The day is warm. Hot in fact. Especially for this spring day in Cambridge. The mercury is expected to rise well into the nineties before lunch time. Guaranteed to wilt. Everything but our spirits. The immeasurable joy emanating from this propitious occasion. Harvard College Class of 2010.

2010! Wow. When I held my pink newborn son in my arms on that very hot day in August over two decades ago I counted the years on my fingers until his college commencement. It seemed light years away from that well-appointed pre-war co-op on the edges of Central Park. The English pram loaned to me by a darling friend parked in the hallway by the door to our gracious home. Yellow days. Green ones, too. My bright inquisitive infant gazing intently on the lemon or at the tulip leaves depicting the color. His inner mind a'whir. Soaking in the lesson. The learning process.

Now here I am. Across the universe of time. Awed. My darling Charlie's intellectual curiosity and scholarly appetite propelling him through the years of building blocks, Math teachers covered in chalk dust, classmates studying frantically into the wee hours for that dreaded exam, the archives deep in the hallowed halls of an English university.

Wooden folding chairs cover the quadrangle in rows, some neat, others zig-zagging around tall oaks and along the pathways. Harvard Yard. Zillions of them stretching across the lawn shaded by tall oaks. Families and friends from all corners of the earth gather excitedly, cardboard coffee cups in hand, chatting gaily. Television monitors capture the excitement. The flourish. The robed men and women in loose formation behind a Scottish bagpiper in full regalia approach through the arched gates walking slowly, proudly from Lowell House across the square. They gather ceremoniously under branches dripping with the rain from the early morning shower. They have grown, flourished among the ivy-covered brick courtyards where great thinkers came to play, learn, and step into their adult selves.

Following commencement exercises we adjourn to Lowell House for a picnic lunch in the courtyard and the bestowing of diplomas well earned. Charlie's friends gather to celebrate the beginning. Not the end. The future is theirs. On a silver platter. Some of these darling young men will squander their gifts, their talents. Others will leverage every god-given attribute to build not only character but to craft a life worth living. Sadly I will not be around to see the fruits of their labor. How they met their challenges and circumnavigated the rocks strewn, as they always are, along the path.

Cheers to these wonderful men! May each be blessed on their separate journeys and may their paths cross often and with grace.

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