Gathering on long stretches of lawn, huddling inside church halls, or amassing in colossal gymnasiums, tis the season to honor and applaud young scholars who have climbed the slippery rungs of the academic ladder. Here they will be granted a view that skims the treetops toward their futures.
Racing across a platform to grasp the pressed woody fibers that hold an inked seal of accomplishment, we watch the students sail forward, a breeze billowing beneath the graduates’ gowns; a tease of the winds aloft they’ll soon face full on.
A speech is prepared, rehearsed and delivered, its words an urgent call to remember the past, but seize the future, grasp it with both hands, clutch it to your heart, embrace it with a fervor that will outlast the first, tiny taste of liberty.
Dozens upon dozens of bright, earnest faces listen to microphoned wisdom: sage insight pressed upon the young and energetic meant to spur on bravery, incite tenacity, and goad some grit.
Umbilical cords to home and school, friends and parents faintly snap as if the students, fidgeting for freedom in their seats, collectively give one last tireless tug to the tethered, fraying thread that holds them bound within a tapestry of the familiar.
An abundance of flashes populate the air; crisp time-stamped moments, trapped in hand-held boxes that years later, will release a rush of recollection that will be both reflective and wistful.
Tomorrow’s outlook is surmountable, and our cloth-draped cubs will rush on ahead, taking their place at the front lines of battle, determined, unflinching, valiant.
I study these children, these long-legged, adult-bodied children, and hold my breath—inhale with hope that they may remain clear-eyed, clear-headed and clearly driven to find a conduit that will express their yet unknown ambitions.
One day they will glance back to look at their younger selves, to study their pipe dreams, their castles in air, their pie in the sky, and they will know what it took to make them go from dream to possibility, from possibility to opportunity, and from opportunity to achievement.
Never again will they find this footing, nor pass over this platform, but perhaps instead they’ll burn these bridges in order to maintain a steady, confident gaze toward a horizon we hope they will pioneer with backbone and boldness.
Be brave, be hungry, become.
May Gotta Have a Gott winner
In January, Rob and I announced that his sketches will be available toward the end of the year in the form of a 2015 calendar! And our readers would get to be the judges and voters for which doodles they’d like to see selected for each month. We’ll reveal the winners one by one, and come November, If you’ve Gotta have a GOTT, you can place your order. Click here to see the cartoons in competition and to cast your vote.
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.
- Steve Jobs Stanford commencement speech (http://content.time.com)
- Stephen Colbert Knox college commencement speech (http://content.time.com)
- J.K. Rowling Harvard commencement speech (http://www.youtube.com)
43 thoughts on “Cap and gown; the costume of progress.”
Thanks, Ren. As an incredibly busy student yourself, I certainly appreciate you taking the time to pop over and read. Cheers to you and good luck with your studies!
LOVE the acronym! Having only graduated from college five years back I read your words with much sentiment. It was such an exciting time with an entire world of possibilities ahead! Congrats to all the graduates of 2014, be it kindergarden or high school, college, it is definitely something to be proud of!
Wow, Sasha, what a totally different world you live in now, eh? The kids, the diapers, the big chubby cheeks you’re desperate to squish. Opposite end of the spectrum life, but as is clear from your writing (love the makeover on your site!), you are living in Happyland. Congratulations yourself! 🙂
Thank you! Yes, my life took a drastic change very quickly but I cannot imagine being any happier! I figure I have the rest of my life to work. I want to spend every last minute loving on my two loves while they still let me! 🙂
Boy, do you have an admirable mindset. Totally makes me smile.
Many thanks and much appreciated. 🙂
I always enjoy your thoughts, your writing style. Thank you for sharing it and for looking into my blogs. Any advice is welcome always.
Thank you for such kind sentiments. What a day maker, Bettamae! And all I can advise at this point is to keep writing your lovely excerpts of life. You’ve always something interesting to say. 😉
Hi Shelley, great post! I especially love the entry for “U” – I remember that tireless tug! And the picture illustrates it perfectly. 🙂
A huge thanks for your kind words, Sue. And I have to say, “U” is my favorite this week too. I am always amazed at what Rob comes up with week after week – and this time, he has wholly outdone himself with pure cleverness! Cheers 😀
Brilliantly written Shelley, magically and yet again poetically another home run that hits the strings of the heart’s and soul’s depths as a grand slam in the bottom of the 9th inning of a World Series.
Bravo, and cheers to Little C for her outstanding accomplishment! Now, off to work and the rest of your magical life. Just do the rest of us a favor Cleo… make this world a better place than when you found it please. Have more faith, offer more justice, share more respect and listen to your fellow cohorts as life is short enough. Two ears and one mouth, right? Open the world to us in ways your elders have fallen short. I trust in you…
Holy cow, bud, I adore the phrase–Two ears and one mouth. That totally packs a powerful punch of meaning. I shall take that one to the grave.
And thanks for all the lovely things you said. I’m wholly flattered.
I shall pass the sage advise on to CHLOE from one of her much admired elders.
Awesome post, Shelley. Congrats to your grad!
Thanks, Nancy. I really appreciate you taking the time out of your impressively effortful day to read (the physical goddess you have become requires such commitment!). Cheers to you. 🙂
🙂 today is my catch-up on reading day. The Grand Canyon Rim-to-river-rim hike happened on Thursday. I’m just in the process of posting about it; a video log 🙂 Fasten your seatbelt. 🙂
Now this I will wait patiently to see. What a woman!
Love your very creative post. 🙂
Such a kind thing to say, Kev. Half of the credit always goes to Rob. He is the verve and color part of this show. 😛
A joint effort…great! 🙂
Well done, your fledglings are well prepared to make their marks. More to come, many more moments to come. Congratulations to all,
Thank you, Kathy. 😀 Another milestone along mile marker 18. We wait with baited breath to see what’s around the bend.
I hope you’re well, and cheers to you!
Love the post style this week. Rob’s cartoons are great too (I like the O)!
Oh, thank you for saying so! Yesterday my daughter had her graduation party, and I printed out all of Rob’s sketches and made a massive banner that was strung across the room. It was the perfect touch.
You’ve summed up many of my own emotions when attending our daughter’s graduation a few weeks ago. You hope with your entire being they can stay the course to their true potential! Congrats to your daughter!
Everything flexible is crossed in hopes that finding her path is a joyful adventure. Such marvelous milestones – I’m just so happy to have seen it all thus far.
And a big congratulations to your daughter as well, Ardys!
A great post! There is a touch of magic in the air during a graduation of any level. As you noted, it is a promise of the future and opportunity. There is only a handful of those instances in our lives and each one is very special!
Thank you for your kind words, Joanne. I agree completely that this was a weekend filled with magic and possibility. It’s a nearly tangible electricity that permeates the room.
I’m going to bask in the glow of this one before I start pondering the next event down the line.
Cheers to you!
.. and best wishes to you too! 🙂
Now THIS would have made one heck of a commencement speech, Shelley! I know you must be one proud mama right now. Chloe has already accomplished many great things, and I fully expect to hop online one day and read the news headline: Renowned Scientist Chloe Sackier Works to Establish Colony on Mars (and Unravel the Mysteries of Black Holes). Please pass along my congratulations to her.
Wow, Miranda, high praise, indeed. I’m hugely flattered, but also realistic. I’ve heard some exceptional commencement speeches and I’ve slept through the rest. The best I can say about mine is that it’s super short. Only enough time for folks to have a quick kip. 😛
And you betcha, I’m super happy for that big brained bairn of mine. Updates on the whole balloon space project are forthcoming as final data is still being collected, but WHAT A STORY, I TELL YOU!! Can’t wait to post that guy and share the tale. A total hoot and worthy of many words.
Let me know if you indeed make your way on over for the near perfect peach. It would be truly awesome to meet one of my favorite writers in person. 😀
Yours is short and sweet and to the point! I know everyone would love it. (I remember when my older sister graduated from college, my grandfather traveled from West Virginia to attend the ceremony. It was held outside, and the speaker droned on and on. My grandpa leaned over to my dad and said, “Is this man ever going to stop talking?” And as the speech continued, his complaining became more vocal: “Oh, no, he’s telling his whole life story now! He’s never going to shut up. It’s hot out here!”)
I can’t wait to read about the balloon space project! (And I’m sure I’ll be howling with laughter as you describe it with your characteristic wit.) Has she decided on a name yet?
Will do, my friend! And right back at you. I would most likely just sit there and revel in the amazingness that is Shelley. 🙂
It Mind blowing !!
Awesome, the way you portrait it.
And many congrats for being Grad. !!
I truly appreciate your kind words, and what blows my mind is the speed at which eighteen years of study went by. I’m awfully happy for that child. And touched you took the time to read. Cheers to you!
Great post, congrats on the grad . Best wishes, Aquileana 😛
Many thanks, Aquileana! By the way, I came across a link to your site from another writer friend of mine. What a goldmine of info. I cannot wait to thoroughly explore your posts. Totally up my ally. Cheers!
And sometimes we attend the graduation of an older person, someone who took a less direct route through higher education, and share in their feelings of accomplishment! Love the post and sketches!
Absolutely, let’s not forget those who have chosen a path less traveled, but still laudable. I could easily edit the piece to fit any age for the accomplishment of achieving a worthy goal. Thanks a million for reading and for the lovely comment! Cheers
sooopurlative, as per yoozyoouhl. and that ‘burnin’ the bridges’ — what a (n after) thought. reminds me — if you have a bit o’ time (& you may have encountered this) — the famous Guy Kawasaki commence speech from 1995:
A great speech – and ten perfect lessons to live by. I had not read it before this, but I bet it was wonderfully well received. And the words live on. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, Betunada!
Love this. What a fun idea…. If you have a recent graduate in your life, congrats to them, Shelley! 🙂
Many thanks, Alex. Got one down, one two go, but a breather of a couple of years in between. Enough time to get the laundry done. 😛