The moon is full again - wolf moon - the first full moon since midwinter. It shines big and silver over the street, bright through clear cold air, surrounded by stars. It feels right that the wolf moon and Martin Luther King's birthday fall close together. In Native American traditions wolf is the totem of the teacher - the person who is loyal to his own community but goes beyond that community to learn new ways which he then brings back into the community for its betterment. The wolf never forgets his roots, but dreams beyond the restrictions of old ways and leads others out of the bondage of these restrictions. I can think of no better description of Dr. King.
I had an odd realization today - checked out at dinner in a conversation with Joanna (daughter) and KK (granddaughter). To both of them Dr. King is part of history - like FDR, Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers. To me Dr.King is contemporary - a part of my personal past, discovered in his prime,remembered, not learned about from books. The Civil Rights Movement, The War in Viet Nam, the Kennedy and King assassinations are to me as World War II, the discovery of the concentration camps, and the death of FDR are to my parents' generation. When I was ten there were still a few people living who remembered the Civil War, the veterans of World War I were in their sixites and the veterans of Worls War II were in the prime of their lives. The bus station in Houston still had two waiting rooms, one for whites and a much smaller, less well appointed one for "coloreds". I remember sneaking a look through the door into the other waiting room - feeling naughty and confused. I didn't understand the significance of the two waiting rooms or the presence in restaurants of signs that said "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." I remember feeling proud of being able to read the words in those signs, and puzzled about their purpose. I had no idea how wrong they were.
Generational perspective is intriguing. I've thought about generational values differences but not so much about the issue of one generation's current events being the next generation's history. Duh! It seems obvious, but I hadn't really thought about it.