I stand in darkness, nearly in complete silence. The night air encircles my body and it’s comfortably warm, the same, safe, and it’s just right. My face is turned to the clear sky and I see the bright moon before my eyes close. There I stand still. Still as the night air which is only disturbed by my own movement. Eyes closed, face skyward, I feel the coolness of the late night air as it descends toward me. I drift to some far away corner of the world, nearly losing my balance as my mind engages in this dream trip my mind has taken on. I stagger a step or two only hoping to recall the place my mind had taken me to. It’s too late, I catch my balance and look around. Lights play tricks with my perception of depths and shadows in this old space. Nearby, time, I sense, moves faster than it does in this, my sheltered place.
It’s the eve of an event. An event I would categorize as major. One that I’ve never experienced myself, college graduation. I’m standing alone on this Ivy League campus, in the midst of celebration and anticipation. Yet, sounds and movement are almost non existent where I stand. I soak it in. I welcome the lack of anything moving or even competing for my attention. I think, and I enjoy the lack of need for any tangible thought or decision expelled from my seemingly limited thought process. Breath leaves my lungs without pressure or force as I ease into a comfortable, near dream state.
In a few hours my own flesh and blood will graduate from an Ivy League school. Having watched him, having listened to all he has said in silence and having observed him, here he belongs, far more than me. As it should be, for I am just a visitor here. This is about him and his classmates. This is about grace under fire, a sense of wherewithal beyond ones own years, and hard work known only to few. I tread among the brilliant, I rub shoulders with the wealthy, I walk past the ones carrying opinions deemed more valuable than mine. Yet, we congregate here in this place for the same reasons.
It’s late, real late. But like so many that will walk the stage in a few hours, I too, can be tired. Oddly, it hits me that an era is ending for one, which will prove more emotional somewhere down the road I’m sure, while, for the same, a new era also begins. As these roads cross, and the mates circulate through the vast green, I’ll be there in awe. For, it’s those who run with the tools they possess, while still assessing what it is they have, onward, forward, boldly, ignoring trepidation, that make me feel feeble, small-minded, and otherwise simple. Perhaps almost ignorantly, I take great pleasure and pride in my own flesh and blood pressing toward the unknown, while certain that pressing is the way to go.
I look past the stage and the neatly arranged seats, looking for a spot that would not be less dignified were I to occupy its space for the coming ceremony. I find comfort in those spaces, mine identified hours before anyone will show up. Regardless of the distance between my perch and the stage, or even the space between my ears versus the brilliance around me, I’ll stand with tears in my eyes, my heart pounding in my chest as I watch my firstborn walk with the company he keeps. I may not look the part, but true loving pride never met outward image. Congratulations to my son and all of his classmates. Job well done. I’m a proud Dad. Your future will certainly repeat some history, but the future you create will be in a realm never seen before, and frankly, that’s exciting, even for this old school thinker.
For now I’ll take in the silence of the midnight air. The temperature falls in proportion to my eyelids losing their battle with gravity, the result of another long day. My dreams are only seconds away as I slip from consciousness. A smile eases over my face as I approach my dream state knowing how real his dreams are and how close his dreams might be to the reality of the coming morning sun. I thank God for His many blessings. Good night. I’m proud of you son. You will always hold a special place in my heart no matter where paths may lead us. Every step, every moment of every day, you’re here with me. Congratulations my son.
~Love, a very happy, proud dad.