Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Jessica Commences

It’s that part of the year when the promise of spring ripens into the fulfillment of summer.

It’s the time of the turning of the tassels.

Across the county, the state, the nation — all around the world — robes are donned, speeches made, alma maters sung, diplomas distributed. In crowds and in private, there are cheers and tears.

It’s a time of transition, and like all such moments there are rites of passage to be observed, traditions to be maintained. The older generations in the fall and winters of their lives must help the children of springtime into their summer years. On football fields and in auditoriums, we celebrate the changing seasons and the first fulfillment of their limitless promise.

They have achieved much already, but we anticipate much more from them. Soon, our world will be in their hands — and what a world we’re handing them. I begin to think they may prefer for us to keep our help to ourselves. Certainly, they can’t do a worse job of stewardship than we have managed. (But that is another column.)

For my part, the main event is tomorrow as this column sees print, when my younger child will cross the field at Tommy Oliver Stadium and graduate from Bay High School.

The commencement has been preceded by awards ceremonies and banquets, musical slideshows, concerts and commemorative photos. These preliminary events are preparatory to what seems like the grand finale but is only a sort of hiatus. Tying up loose ends and testing the water before the big cannonball leap, these smaller proceedings ease us as a group toward the next plateau.

On Thursday night, as I filed out of the BHS cafeteria with the other parents after the choir banquet, I looked up at the ceiling and glanced at the walls decorated with scowling red tornadoes. And I said to my wife that this was probably the last time we would stand in this building.

“At last until the grandkids are about to graduate,” she said, and that future seemed too far away and impossible yet to think about.

Behind us, the choir kids were cleaning up, stacking chairs, clearing tables, laughing and hugging, saying good-bye, vowing to visit one another.

Their future is now. The tassels are poised for turning.

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