“O mountain friends!
With mine your solemn spirit blends,
And life no more hath separate ends.”
-- John Greenleaf Whittier, “Lake Winnipesaukee”
Since I often feel like I’m seeking separate objectives from everyone else, as if my goals, or ends, were given to me alone and I must make my way toward them on my own, it was wonderful to come upon these words of Whittier yesterday. On the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the poet came to understand the truth that, in fact, there are no “separate ends” anywhere – that all of us who share this universe also share the same goals. We are all seeking, every second, a stronger sense of being simply what or who we are. All of us – all people, animals, winds, and stars – are steering, in our special ways, toward being the best possible people, animals, winds, and stars. All of us are looking for light in a sometimes dark world, for comfort where comfort often seems far distant. I can pretend that my goals are solely mine, but that’s a sham that surely diminishes me. The truth is, as Whittier discovered beside the lake, that not one of us strives separately from others – that all of us who share this impressively mystifying universe strive step by step in a sometimes unseen but everlasting togetherness.