“But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? – – Carpe – – hear it? – – Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” -John Keating, Dead Poets Society
Today I was finally able to watch the movie, my all time favorite movie, with my son. I fell in love with the Dead Poets Society when it first came out, and while we were watching it today, I couldn’t help but wonder if this movie inspired a movement in teaching. I also thought about an experience on our summer vacation and how together they helped me make a decision this week.
We were on our way out of the Grand Canyon after sunset and heading to our cabin when we stumbled upon this sign. A perfect spot for a family photo to commemorate the trip! As we got closer, we saw a woman taking several photos of the sign. After noticing that she was alone, I offered to take a picture of her with it. She was thrilled! So together we took several photos of her in front of and behind this sign with her camera. She then insisted she return the favor and she took this one of us.
Her name was Tina and it did not take long to learn her story. She was traveling alone on a cross country trip that had just begun in California and would take her back east via her hometown of Philadelphia. She was with a large touring group, all strangers, and had been assigned a roommate. But unfortunately, they were not finding much in common so she was very much touring solo. Thus no one to take her picture.
Soon it was quite dark and we did not think she should walk alone to her cabin so we insisted we give her a ride and she accepted. Once we were in the car, she shared something I have not been able to forget. Tina’s husband had recently passed away. They had enjoyed a long life together and you could hear the heartache in her voice as she told us about him. Then, with a note of courage, she shared that this trip was for them. She had made a decision to take the trip they always had dreamed of but never found time to do.
“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.” -Henry David Thoreau
This was a blogpost I wrote after our 2016 summer vacation. The week after which I was given one of those “once in a lifetime opportunities” that involved a last minute trip to California with friends. It was a decision I wrestled with a good bit and discussed with my husband. Should I do this “thing” that was offered to me? Prayer is key of course. I always think “Carpe Diem!” and now I think about Tina.
Like the words of Robert Herrick that I first heard in the Dead Poets Society,
“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying.”