Tuesday, June 21, 2011

With One Eye Fixed Upon the Horizon Line

Summer is officially here.  It arrives today in the Northern Hemisphere at 1:16 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time.  Perhaps it is just me but its timing seems wrong somehow, juxtaposed as it is against the death of Clarence Clemons.  But then again, perhaps its timing is wholly appropriate.  After all, life goes on.  I presume that countless Springsteen fans have done what I have done these past several days:  spent quality time with some of my favorite CDs to enjoy the sound of the Big Man's saxophone.  Ah, the joy of audience created recordings.  They allow us to continue our trek forward while keeping a toehold in a place in time that brought us great joy.  Joy is a treasured commodity at any time but particularly so at a time in which, "You can hear the whole damn city crying."

I did not realize until I read about it in USA Today that Clarence had recently published an update to his 2009 memoir, which chronicled (among other things) his 2010 spinal fusion surgery and his efforts to rehabilitate himself afterwards.  In the updated version of his book, he wrote:

"As I write this I'm sitting on my porch looking out at the Bay toward the horizon where the ocean meets the sky. I intend to keep on keeping on until the day the music swells and giant letters rise out of the sea and spell the words The End."

While one might not know it from the harm I inflict upon it in this space on a day in, day out basis, I love language.  His use of language in that excerpt hits me just right.  I immediately pictured him as he described himself:  sitting gazing out over the water with an eye fixed upon the horizon line.  The point where the sea blends with the sky.  The point where there are not two distinct things but simply one, all-encompassing thing.  A beautiful, haunting image.

Summer arrives as scheduled this afternoon.  It arrives regardless of whether all of those we love and we had hoped would be here to herald its arrival are - in fact - here.  As it did last year.  As it shall do next year.  In the words of the great Pete Hamill, "Time itself is long, even if the time of man is short."   And as we were reminded just the other day, even when the man is big, his time is still short.  Life is a forward-moving exercise.  And for those of us who are here, Summer has officially arrived.  We need not enjoy it if that is what we choose to do.  Ignore it or not, enjoy it or not, it is here.  And given that life comes with no guarantee, including whether you or me or any of us shall be here twelve months from now to herald the arrival of Solstice 2012, there seems to be little to be gained from not soaking every bit of enjoyment from it. 

Irrespective of recent events, the time is right after all.  And so it goes.  As do we....with a purposeful stride and with an eye fixed forever upon the horizon line, trying to absorb as much as we can out of this life right up until the day when our own set of giant letters rise up out of the water.


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