“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he should mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak.” – Thoreau
In the 70s, I had a poster on my wall with this quotation from Thoreau’s Walden, published in 1854. This sort of poster was popular in our post-60s ‘counter-culture revolution’ phase. I treasured it.
There had been so much pressure to conform. So ideas like those in Thoreau’s quotation seemed like a gentle, nourishing contrast – almost a rebuke of the previously critical-judgmental, rather authoritarian perspective. That had been severe enough in the fifties and sixties that for awhile, some in the counter-culture over-reacted at the extreme end of the spectrum: public nudity, ‘free love’, doing whatever felt good including getting high out in the streets of the urban western world, or on ‘hippie farms’ or ‘co-ops’ which sprouted like weeds for awhile. It was a decade of play for some, primarily ‘boomers’. But also a time to experiment with change. Many people spent time contemplating and questioning everything.
These were ‘wild’ times, which could mean anything from strolling all night through downtown Montreal – stoned on LSD; or a young cousin of mine during a visit appearing in my room in the middle of the night, dressed only in a haze of marijuana.
Such times never last. They experimented with love, lifestyles, ideas and countless dreams of change. Most eventually matured and moved on. I know of one communal country property still going after 40 years – though the majority (grandparents today) don’t live there full-time.
Most ‘hippies’ sobered up and got serious and gradually, society did change some: the civil rights movement, feminism, greater equality of opportunity, greater openness. Even the corporate world was somewhat experimental for awhile, with more focus on creativity, less pressure to conform, more generous benefits, women moving up the ladder. Seeds of hope were planted and the knowledge that we can influence change.
And now those greying boomers are beginning to enter ‘retirement’ – with better health, education, and insight than previous generations. They will be looking for meaningful activities more than any previous generation in history – and many will want to make a difference in the world during the last decades of their lives. After all this time, they will still be hearing the music of a different drummer – or maybe that of John Lennon, in “Imagine”:
“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. They are not afraid to dream, and they know they are not alone.
A wonderful, thoughtful, insiteful piece, Fearlessanalyst. Sometimes it’s a good thing to review one’s life, the decades we have spent trying to figure out where we fit and, yes, what we can contribute to this world. I simply love this blog and more than anything would like to be able to spend more time with you. We’ll keep in touch. xx/oo Auds
Thanks so very much Auds. You made my week. No, my month. 🙂 Let’s have lunch soon!
I agree with Audrey Ogilvie. It was a very well written piece. One can think these same ideas……..but expressing them is important too.
I’m so glad I’ve found your blog through Meme’s. I left you a comment there but don’t know if it will find its way to you so here it is again
‘You are so right fearlessanalyst! This blogging world is magic and I love it – friends all over the world! :)’
Now that I’ve found your blog, I just want to say I have long loved that quotation and love your thoughts on it too.
Keep dreaming 🙂
Love your blog, esp. your choice of subjects for photos! Love ‘The Road Less Traveled’, and like Meme, I also sing. The same moonbeam must have flit through our backyards: many commonalities: I’m a humanist/unitarian (believing in the ‘interdependent web of all existence’), and like most our age, have also experienced many losses. I feel a rush of gratitude most days. If I were writing about “beautiful things”, I’d include things like your blogs, the WWW, and so on 🙂 Thank you for finding me!
I started making little recordings for friends to encourage them to sing too. I don’t sing except in the privacy of my computer room. You ought to record something and put it up here. 🙂 I just use a rinky dink recorder. It is just the fun of doing it.
Glad you found mybeautfulthings too. She always has such interesting things to look at. Makes the common look uncommon and the uncommon exquisite.
Here is the reference to your blog: http://mixandmatchmeme.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/its-my-blog/#comments 🙂
“Makes the common look uncommon and the uncommon exquisite.” SO well said!!
Never thought of posting a song! I’m too serious – I could do it, but I’m so “straight arrow” like my writing. I’ve been singing old nostalgic wartime songs like “Falling in Love Again” or “Give me a Kiss to Build a Dream on”, etc. Don’t laugh. Now I’ll go prep for dinner guests…. Adios
I don’t think I sing any songs past 1950 or so. I want something that has a tune and that I can understand. Each generation to its own….I guess.
You are truly amazing!! I am still smiling and chuckling at your song about blogging. Also saw your “G Word” (Bravo). I’ll bet people like you, and mybeautifulthings and I, will someday carry out my dream of re-awakened baby-boomers changing the world. May you have seven wonderful sleeps in a row! 🙂