Dreams of the Future, Ghosts of the Past

Monday Morning Musings:

“bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. education & free discussion are the antidotes of both. . . .I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. so good night! I will dream on, always fancying that mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.”

–“To John Adams from Thomas Jefferson, 1 August 1816,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017,

 

 

A porcelain ghost looked long

and laughed delicious poetry,

remember this

she said,

or it is over

 

And so, we remember over and over

forgetting what we knew

embracing new ideas,

loving them each time as original and unique

and they are

every time

dreams of the future, history of the past

 

We walk cobblestone streets and brick drives

chasing ghosts

followed by shadows

whispering glorious words

“We the people”

history of the past

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Janet Givens and her husband, the past, present, and future all around them.

 

But under a dying star

a naked fool celebrates

his courtiers cheer

his nonexistent suit of clothes

as darkness falls

he eats a second scoop of ice cream

 

Still, we remember

sometimes forgetting to remember

until we remember again

We the People

history of the past and dreams of the future

 

On a day in May

that feels like July

perhaps like the summer of 1787

when a group of men

(white men, only men)

made compromises  and wrote We the People

but on this day,

a day in their future,

we walk with friends to see and read about the past

to hear and read the lofty words

of men who had lived and fought a revolution

and though they themselves were flawed

still their words glow

and grow

from the past, through the present, and into the future

visions they had and hopes

dreams that have been realized

and worlds they could not imagine

dreams of things that are yet to be

 

I gaze at the beautiful handwriting

of educated people

who read and valued learning

and think of misspelled Twitter rants.

We’ve forgotten

and it’s time to remember

dreams of the future, history of the past

 

We’ve added and clarified

giving freedom to people who were enslaved

giving rights to women

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ruling on free speech, freedom of religion, individual rights versus the state

fighting a civil war

(yes it was about slavery)

prohibiting the manufacturing of and sale of alcohol

and then making it legal again–

after so many lost jobs and the government lost revenue–

and there was more crime

let’s face it

We the People like to drink

from the past of George Washington’s distillery

to the future of new breweries, vineyards, and manufacturers,

the dreams of We the People

 

 

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This history swirls about us

all the time

because of a revolution

and a convention

a document that still lives

expanding like our nation

built on a strong foundation

like the building

we see as we sit outside on that warm day

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but life is not complete without some treats

(We the People like our sweets)

our nation built on bitter and sweet

dreams of the future, history of past

 

 

Two men, Adams and Jefferson

one, a Massachusetts man against slavery

(though not exactly an abolitionist)

the other, a Virginia plantation owner and slaveholder

dissimilar in so many ways from appearance to beliefs

but both admiring each other

both enjoyed the wit and education of some women

while disregarding them as citizens

with their own rights

and bodies

(I’m looking at you, T.J. Sex with a slave is coerced.)

their friendship suspended after the Election of 1800,

but later renewed,

bridged, despite their differences

liked a structure spanning the gulf between two disparate lands

like the bridge we need now

for We the People

as we dream of the future

and remember the past

and hope that it is not over

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Leaving Philadelphia, heading to New Jersey over the Ben Franklin Bridge

 

For those unfamiliar with it, the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution begins with the words, “We the People.” You can read more about it here.

My friend, Janet Givens, was in Philadelphia with her husband to celebrate an event. I will leave her to talk about it, as I’m certain she will in an upcoming post. We visited the National Constitution Center , ate a delicious lunch at Farmicia restaurant, and stopped at Shane’s Confectionery, which has been a candy store on that site since 1863.

 

Routines and Writing

English: Photo of American Transcendentalist R...

English: Photo of American Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, seated in a chair and reading a newspaper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“So much of our time is spent in preparation, so much in routine, and so much in retrospect, that the amount of each person’s genius is confined to a very few hours.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yesterday morning my usual routine was thrown off because my daily paper did not arrive. I realize that in the age of Kindles and iPads reading a print newspaper is almost anachronistic. Nevertheless, perusing the pages–sometimes attempting to read around a cat who has decided to nap on the page I’m reading–as I drink my coffee has been part of my morning routine for far longer than I want to think about.

Reading the morning paper goes back to my childhood. We always had a paper delivered to our house. My parents got the Dallas Morning News, and then later my mom subscribed to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Morning newspapers and coffee—there’s just something relaxing about the combination. Even when I worked away from home or had young children, I made certain to allow enough time in the morning to at least glance at the headlines.

In theory, the absence of the paper should have given me more time to do other things.  In fact, all it did was make me antsy. Most likely, I would have settled down to work if I had not had an appointment to get to–which further disrupted my routine and made me more annoyed. At least I had coffee, or I would have had to give up and go back to bed.

Yes, I am a creature of habit. For example, when I take classes at the gym, I usually set up and stand in one particular area of the room.  I usually go to bed and wake up around the same time every day, even on weekends.  I know it is good to shake things up, to sometimes be spontaneous, but habits, such as remembering to take daily medication, can also be good things.

I am a morning person.  My mind is always sharpest and my body full of energy first thing in the morning.  I want to accomplish everything then—do all of my writing, go to they gym, and do various errands. With two book contracts right now, plus test writing, and other work, I’ve decided the only solution is to make mornings last for a 10-hour period. Then I can accomplish all my goals, and still have time to relax. Yes, that’s my plan, and I’ll get right to it—as soon as I read the paper.