24 June 2010

Lines for a summer reunion

Sunrise on the Caprock

This weekend is a grand reunion for my high school classmates. Alas, it's not possible for me to attend this time around. We haven't done badly, judging from the notes many of us are posting--we fanned out across the country and the world, found our places, found our partners, became learners and teachers, parents and professionals, searched for and found meaning in life, and now are reuniting to renew the bonds of the heady years of high school. Sometimes it does not seem that this passage of time is even possible, especially when a dear friend picks up the conversation exactly where it left off thirty-plus years ago. Weren't we just talking a few days ago? How can it be years instead?

We were idealists; much of that idealism has largely been lost to the realities and joys and sorrows of life. Not all dreams came true. Not everyone is still here with us. Somehow, though, somehow that bright thread of idealism winds through our talking and writing. We are still those starry-eyed youngsters at heart, even with laugh (or life) lines around those eyes. And the best of us will always be in the reflection we see in our friends' eyes.

So here's to the Westerners. I could not be prouder to belong to this class.

The years that pass could never make us strangers—
Our youth shows clearly in each other’s faces.
We’ve come so far, such pleasures and such dangers,
We’ve forged new bonds of strengths and loves and graces
We did not know that joys would come so purely
Or that sorrows could reshape our souls and hearts.
We did not know that time would pass on, surely,
And that we’d lead the way, with stops and starts.
We did not know that friendship comes too rarely,
That friendship counts no hours and has no clock.
We did not know that life may not run fairly,
Or that we had the strength that none could lock.
We did not know then just what we would be,
But we sensed that, what we knew, the world would see.
--Sally Shelton, 24 June 2010

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