Friday, March 10, 2017

Clouds in Lincoln City and Lexington, the Poem


(Brian Hartenstein and Daughter, Xian)

"Slowly the mist over the meadow was creeping
Bright on the dewy buds glistened the sun
When from his couch, while his children were sleeping
Rose the bold rebel and shouldered his gun."  -Lexington, Oliver Wendell Holmes

It comes up every day in conversation with my kids... the need to know history and put it in the proper context to the news of our day. 
(Coho Beach, Lincoln City Oregon)

"On the smooth green where the fresh leaf is springing
Calmly the first-born of glory have met
Hark! the death-volley around them is ringing!
Look! with their life-blood the young grass is wet...
Tell to our sons how their fathers have died." -Lexington, Oliver Wendell Holmes

The rise of despots, the failures of civilizations, the ruin of empires, the foibles of those with power... those that don't know history are doomed to repeat it.
(One Good Jump...)

"Gayly the plume of the horseman was dancing
Never to shadow his cold brown again
Proudly at morning the war-steed was prancing
Reeking and panting he droops the rein..."  -Lexington, Oliver Wendell Holmes

As we dig into the meat of the American Revolution, April 18, 1775:  THE SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD! The Minutemen and Redcoats clash at Lexington and Concord.  I am reminded with my daughters... what makes a true revolution?  What creates an idea so powerful in the minds of people they are willing to sacrifice anything for it?
(Deserves Another)

"Green be the graves where her martyrs are lying!
Shroudless and tombless they sunk to their rest."  -Lexington, Oliver Wendell Holmes

As a proud Dad, I basically have to create challenges and obstacles for my kids to toughen them up.  Their new American life is impossibly placid and tranquil.  Catered lunches, door to door chauffeured service to and from school, homework aids, study apps... everything at their fingertips. What's a kid nowadays got to rebel about?  Instead, they often think of revolution as what new innovation can they create.  What existing idea can they make better.  They study the trends that motivate and inspire their peers... and speculate technological ways to profit from it.  Believe me, that is not what I had in mind when I first started teaching them to read: What new version of Angry Bird / Snapchat / FaceSwap / TempeRun/ Minecraft... can my kids make a mint re-inventing? 
(Rage Sea!  Rage!)

"Spread her broad banner to storm and to sun
Heaven keep her ever free
Wide as over land and sea
Floats the fair emblem her heroes have won."  -Lexington, Oliver Wendell Holmes

Is that the lesson we are doomed to repeat?  Will my daughters become capitalist slaves?  Is the Revolution of 2017 merely an attempt to make their iPad faster? Their life hacks more efficient?  Their virtual social connections more palpable?  Why doesn't the crystal ball of history show me the way?  Perhaps this is what every generation feels.  Standing on the beach at Lincoln City today, peering out across the Pacific at Asia and all that we had gone through there, I'm also reminded how the future has always been cloudy and unclear.  History guides us, but somethings, we're just not supposed to know. 

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