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Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Panoramas

Drumlins, she called them. The remains of the glacial retreat. The road rising and falling in a gentle rollercoaster.  Northern Michigan is covered with these hills and valleys, sparkling lakes and stunning vistas. Beautiful scars of a geological era we can hardly imagine.

My grandmother would always call from the front seat "Look at the panorama!" when driving to a particularly high hilltop. Brother and I would scorn the feelings she tried to share as she looked out over a horizon where three bodies of water were visible between the hills. "Boring old people stuff" we thought.

What is it about youth that does not want (or perhaps is not able) to appreciate beauty? When does that mad rush to aquire experiences mellow to include an appreciation of them?

Dad always laments the inability of adults to teach their hard-earned lessons to the next generation. If we could find a way to skip the need for each person make the same basic mistakes over and over, he thinks, perhaps we could have the time to learn new ways of solving the world's problems.

As I listened this afternoon to three generations playing shuffleboard together, I felt glad that some experiences bear repeating. The fun of teaching a skill to a younger player. The compassion we learn when we are consoled. The confidence gained in experimenting, then surviving our mistakes.
It's easy to get lost in the details of the day. Meals to be made, rooms to be vacuumed, rides to be given, and email to read.  Sometimes I go for weeks at a time with my head down without having an opportunity to look up and see where I am.

This winter, when all is dark and the rain and cold narrow my horizons, I plan to  bring to mind my grandmother as she looked out over the drumlins. And keep her words close to my heart.