Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Unfinished Business

I went into Scholar’s Corner -- a coffee shop in the university library. As I got a cup of coffee, I glanced around and saw them. They were sitting facing one another, leaning toward one another as if having trouble hearing. Their skin was wrinkled, heads balding and bellies protruding slightly. They were older men engaged in conversation.

What were they talking about? Are they faculty? What are their fields? I began to imagine the treasure of knowledge stored in their minds, the wisdom they have gained and the experiences they have lived. I wanted to join them, to ask questions, to enter into debate as a junior partner and feel the excitement of exploring the mysteries of life. I wanted to hear them talk with passion about their fields of study, the articles they have written and, perhaps, the books they have authored.

When I was young I treated older people with respect because I was taught to be polite and courteous. Now, I treat them with respect and a degree of reverence.

Last month, as I talked with Julie’s uncle who is eighty-two, he said that he wanted to “leave a legacy”. He had written a personal or family history for his children and grandchildren. I understand the desire.

Non-human animals don’t live beyond their child-bearing years but we’re different. It’s as if nature intends us to grow old, be a stabilizing influence on society and pass on knowledge that eludes scientific research.

I’ve been wondering what legacy I would like to leave. What are the two or three most important or valuable things that I have learned? How can I put them in a form that expresses both truth and beauty? For whom will I leave it? At the moment, these remain unanswered questions. I have thoughts and ideas but no final answers.

Someday, someone may look at me and see a wrinkled, bald, frail old man. Perhaps that person may approach me and ask “what has life taught you?”. If this happens, I want to be able to answer with confidence, grace and passion. I want to be able to say “life and has been wonderful and has taught me…”.

How will I finish that sentence?


Blogger DirkStar said...

Nice! Well done, you write wonderfully...


11/07/2006 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger Buffalo said...

I don't know that I have a valid legacy to leave.

11/07/2006 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Whitesnake said...

My friend,
The legacy you leave you will not be able to see.

Part of your legacy as is Buff's, is the stories you both have told, the adventures through life, your ups and downs.

Like the 2 gentlemen you described I see you both in that light. Difference is.........
I get to share with you thoughts ideas and adventures.
Although I maybe a smartass at times and totally oblivious to your culture I listen or rather read and learn.

Doesn't mean I understand nor agree, but you must be doing something right for me to keep returning.
Hell 12,000 kms is along way to travel everyday.

You see.......Part of your legacy you are already leaving......

11/07/2006 02:30:00 PM  
Blogger MojoMan said...

I think the questions you raise explain the reasons some people blog. We want to sort out our thoughts and feelings about who we are, where we have been and where we are going. Along the way, these posts leave a record of that process that others can see when we're gone.

11/07/2006 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Someday, someone may look at me and see a wrinkled, bald, frail old man.

What do you mean, "Someday?" hahaha

11/07/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Alex Pendragon said...

I'd feel fortunate if my legacy was "He didn't leave the world any more screwed up than when he entered it."

I would LIKE it to be, "He managed to make at least one other person THINK."

11/08/2006 07:16:00 AM  

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