"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Monday, June 1, 2009

"The years creep slowly by Lorena"

That old Civil War song..."the snow is on the grass again...."
When is it that the years seem to go slowly? I can see blue clad and gray clad soldiers sitting around campfires, eating hardtack, bored with existence in camp, dreading the next march, afraid of what Johnny Reb or Billy Yank might have in store for them over the next hill. Someone gets a harmonica or violin out and as the night draws in, thoughts turn to loved ones, to home, to comrades no longer around the fire.

In tragedy and sadness, in separation,that's when time drags.

But the rest of the time, it flies by, the more so the older you get. You hold a granddaughter or grandson and remember how short a time ago you did the same with your own kids.

"Sunrise, Sunset, Swiftly Flow The Years" in Fiddler on the Roof to me is one of the saddest songs ever, I'm aware of these things even more as I hold Liberty Faye, and seeing with Derrick and Naomi; as I pack photos and mementos and books in boxes....memories into boxes, a time line of lives. "Man is but a vapor."

But the joy of rebirth, of new life, of new ideas and possibilities helps keep us sane in the face of mortality. That's why metaphors mean so much...they tell things with stories that words can't fully express. Opportunities don't come in straight lines. A bursting dam flood of emotions and thoughts and ideas. Dwelling on the past enriches but dehydrates the present, so you're always thirsty, and drains the future of refreshment.

"Oh Danny boy, Oh Danny boy, the pipes are calling...."

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