Moving Day
O. P. Kretzmann

In our journey through life (an original phrase) we are often prone to forget that woven into our trip between the eternities there are smaller, occasional, somewhat haphazard excursions between various spots on our planet… briefly, we move…  Very few of us remain in one place for more than a small part of our total journey… especially in these restless and rootless days…

Perhaps this is a good thing — this periodic pulling up the roots of routine… I am going through it now… It is a strange process, nostalgic, painful — and yet remarkably healthful…  One goes through closets, desks, drawers, shelves, corners — and one finds strange things, often sharply reminiscent of other and better days, of half-remembered friends, of all the inevitable baggage of the years…

That scrawled poem at the bottom of odds and ends — why did I ever want to keep that?…  Those dim notes for a dim sermon — did I imagine that they might be prized as an original some day?… That unsigned birthday card — who sent it and why did I keep it?… That single sock in its proper place — what happened to the other one?… There are a thousand problems and only a few answers — and most of my time this rainy day is devoted to long looks out the window, trying desperately with all my heart and mind to remember…

Now and then something rings a lonesome bell… In a yellowing notebook I find the following sentence, barely legible: Wearying, he changed his tune and won the praise of little men — but now and then at dawn a trumpet blew which only he could hear.… I dropped the notebook and looked at the rain fluttering against my window…  Suddenly I remembered him… The best in our class, destined for great things, but slowly, surely eroding under the pressure of new things and present honors… I remembered an old saying: It is much better to stone our prophets than to crown them with roses. The roses stifle them; the stones drive them out into the desert to think… remembered his roses…  They were beautiful… On the other side of the crumpled sheet there is an ode for someone whom I have completely forgotten:

A hungry cancer will not let him rest
Whose heart is loyal to the least of dreams
There is a thorn forever in his breast
Who cannot take his world for what it seems
Aloof and lonely must he ever walk
Plying a strange and unaccustomed tongue
An alien to the daily round of talk
Mute when the sordid songs of earth are sung

In a tattered notebook I find short sentences — interesting only because they reflect the ideas which I considered important forty years ago: Twilight thinking — sharp lines disappear and differences merge together.

The history of the future will be written
Not as the loud have spoken
But as the mute have thought.

And a note on a forgotten professor: He discusses futile questions by faulty methods

Largely, however, these notes from a far day reflect the Weltschmerz of an amateur Werther in the roaring twenties…  Pages drip with tears — for lost unfaithful ladies who broke my plastic heart… mood of a bad past, sad memory, no future and no hope… The slow dimming of the years and the creeping paralysis of time

Now another rain is drumming against my window and I know, so many years later, that something lost can return even under the long stress of troubled years and the numbing blows of all the unbearable things that men must bear…

And here — again from a worn notebook — a few juvenile lines to a lady whose name I have forgotten…

Two, they say, shall dream a dream together
But only one shall trace it to the end
Now you are gone, a gypsy on a highway
And I am left with lonely fires to tend

You have forgotten lamplight has warm magic
And hearths are sweet when dusk blows down the land
But when the star is safe within your pocket
Full well I know its prints will bruise your hand

Then you will come, the long adventure over
Brave banners down, a supplicant from pain
And I, who watch through ever-lengthening evenings
Shall smile to hear dim music in the rain.

You think its silly? So do I — but it did not seem so a day of autumn rain in 1921… Something lost has not returned…

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