I approached others who shared an interest in writing, and they were encouraging. As a first step I needed to try it, of course, and what follows is my first draft. I suspect the piece I shall ultimately share will be quite different, but I shall start by taking the easy road – just an inventory accompanied by first impressions. It will be too literal for what I really want, but it’s a start. And isn't it always best to begin at the beginning? What comes later will … come later. Not a bad plan.
My office has an incredible window. Through what is essentially an eight-foot-wide picture window, one looks northward. In the distance and across the Mohawk River rise the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. On this day in late September, the leaves on the trees are
From my desk and gazing toward those hills, I look across a huge expanse of green lawn containing practice fields for soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse as well as the baseball diamond and a football stadium. These usually lie vacant during the hours I work, but occasionally if I remain until very late in the afternoon, they begin to come alive with energetic young college students practicing all of those skills that their coaches repeatedly insist are essential for a successful life. Aside from having a healthy body and learning to persist or be a team player, I must admit I have never quite understood what those essential skills are. I do, however, like such busyness, and it’s a reminder of enjoyable afternoons I spent playing baseball many years ago and very much earlier in my own life's cycle.
Closer to me are a couple of large boulders – each supporting large bronze plates containing the names of those who stopped by the college for a few - some for many - years before retiring from sharing themselves, their experiences, and their accumulated wisdom with generations of students. I have to wonder if I will be remembered by the students to whom I so willingly gave all that I could. Will I be remembered by a college for whom I did the same for all or parts of five decades? William James has offered that “The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts life.” So I wonder, “Did I?” Would it not be a way, after all, to stretch my personal cycle many years beyond what is normally expected?
What an incredible view I have from my window! One has to wonder how on earth I ever get lectures prepared or examinations graded. That, I fear, is a mystery almost as great as the mystery behind the many cycles that provoke and entertain me from day to day, week to week, and year to year.