Graduation

I spent a warm evening under the stars, waiting for the moon to show its full face once again, but became too sleepy to stay awake for the main event, and went to bed with the familiar silvery glow illuminating the tips of the trees in the otherwise darkened forest. I have an advantage over the early morning today, however, by popping out of bed before the alarm clock can make its shrill announcement.

Yesterday several high schools in the county conducted graduation ceremonies for the seniors. Across the road from me lives one of those seniors. I really do not like to watch my neighbors, only because I do not like being watched by them. The senior has held one long drawn-out party for what must be half of his senior year, with others coming to his house during lunch hour and clustering in his back yard each day. The mom works and no one else is home, so this has become the chosen spot for him to celebrate the joys of young life with his friends. Cars come and go routinely, arriving punctually in a pack, where they then park for 30 or 40 minutes, before suddenly all departing at once. The biggest gathering I’ve seen yet was held yesterday, and lasted on into the night, in celebration of the end of this long spell of learning.

I am glad for this younger set, that they have found comradeship and can enjoy each other’s presence. I recall that in my late high school years–and for a year or two after–I did the same, spending much time in large clusters of friends. We proudly possessed our own special society that experimented with how to merge into the larger rings around us. I suppose social scientists must have a field day studying teenagers and how it is that they somehow morph into adults, giving up the sacredness of their group identity and becoming mature individuals that must forge their unique destinies. It’s one of the bigger transitions in life that we all must endure.

I feel fortunate to have passed my teenage years in the 1960s, even though those were rather insane years because of the cultural changes and the social pressures. Whatever mission my generation thought they must accomplish, it seems that I can no longer easily define or defend it. Maybe we were really only about peace, love, and loud Beatle music. There were other undercurrent forces at work–mainly big government and big business–that had more influence on our own future than we could readily recognize. Now I can look back and see patterns of the forces at work on us, but it is not so easy to project where we continue to be carried.

I wonder about this up-and-coming younger set of people. Housing is over-priced and decent jobs are scarce. How will they fit in? It is probably a question that the group of teenagers cannot easily ask of themselves. Somehow from out of the dense cluster of young minds each must find a way. Make a lot of noise today, I suppose, and have a lot of fun, for tomorrow will present something new and different.

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