Reflections-A visit to Pennsylvania


When our lives begin, what dreams do we have, what vision for our future………..what shall we become?
I often ponder our existence and the it’s meaning.

In the realm of the universe….even of our mere planet; we a so very insignificant, and yet we place such great importance on our every word and action……….what are we really?

When I was very young I read Plato‘s “Allegory of the Cave” from The Republic, Book VII,  and have often wondered if we are only viewing the shadows of reality.

The Wise and Noble Plato

You see, in the allegory of the cave, prisoners are tied up and only allowed to face forward where they see shadows on the wall……..shadows played out by actors behind them.


Are we those prisoners, watching a two-dimensional scenario being played out before us, or are we the prisoner who escaped and saw reality. I suppose this question rises to the surface in a more intense manner each year there is a presidential election in the U.S. The grandstanding, the lies, the shadows on the wall become so very intensified that I begin to question my own reality.  Having been raised in an isolated German community, where we still spoke German and our values and culture were German and not “American.” 

I often wonder if I moved from the sunlight to the cave when the isolation of my community disappeared and we integrated into this society. 
What is shadow and what is sunlight?

I had the great priviledge of meeting someone who undid my shackles and drug me out of the cave in 1980.

She was my undergraduate English teacher and so powerful was her gift of enlightenment….

…..  we have remained close friends ever since.

Recently I had the great privilege and joy of traveling to Pennsylvania to spend time with her.

The Marvelous, Magical Mary

She now lives in Media, Pennsylvania, in a most marvelous and charming neighborhood with her wonderful husband Jim and two enchanted dogs: Lily and Sir Winston. How grand it was to reenergize with people who are so vital and have become such close family.

You see Plato was arguing that anyone who holds a truth has an obligation to share that truth, and that is what my most wonderful Mary did.

Dining at the Table of Wisdom

It was a wonderful visit, but as all wonderful visits, much too short.

Mary and Jim
Happy in Media

We so enjoyed exploring Media, meeting Mary and Jim’s new friends, cooking and visiting.

Is it possible that many may embrace reality but few accept the perception of that same reality?

We can only say that our lives have had the shackles thrown off, even if for a bit, and we were able to see the sunlight…..

…. so when that last shadow is cast we might hold those moments in appreciation…..

…………and those ruby slippers, once so important… are no longer needed

15 responses »

  1. Dearest Emil,
    What a beautiful post! I believe we are here to love, that is our purpose. Every time I have gotten caught up in muck, I have felt lost. This year seems in more upheaval than many many others in the past….lots of opportunities to love.
    Have a wonderful Easter and know that you are loved very much!

  2. Emil– Magical Mary here. This makes my last 44 years as a teacher/ communication consultant worth it all. Beautifully constructed narrative. Plato and Mary: yup. Equals….
    Thank you for sharing your generous heart and brilliant writing with me again. No purple marks. Not one.

  3. Pondering on exsisting or its meaning? Makes me think and wonder. What wonderful words you say…………love the story

  4. In reading this interesting post about your visit to your teacher and friend, I thought the name Media dimly rang a bell, so I checked. Yes. Media is the home to Hal Taussig, founder of Untours, the extraordinary tour enterprise that-isn’t-a-tour, and of Hal’s foundation, which is more than charity — not the “give a hungry man a fish” philosophy — but “teach a man to fish.” His foundation supports the efforts of people to do and found and flourish by themselves.
    This world of unexpected connections being what it is, I’ll bet your Magical Mary and my bike-riding octogenarian Hal know each other!

  5. What a beautiful, insightful post….I wished I would have had a teacher that moved me into such a wonderful sphere of life, maybe things would have been different. Although if things would have turned out differently, I would have not met you! So, thank you for all that you share of your thoughts, feelings and knowledge.

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  9. Where was I when you wrote this love story!Tin Man. In this life we are privileged when we meet someone who changes our life – by thought, word, or deed. No accident this. No lucky chance. It is as though scales are removed from our eyes and we see and understand life anew. It has been my utmost pleasure to read and discover the man behind the tin mask. I know how fortunate I am to enter your world. With enormous respect, great affection and tremendous thanks I am as always – your Virginia

    • I love you so!!! You have warmed my heart and lifted my spirit! Within in a week of this trip and days after I wrote this post, I found myself in the hospital at the edge of the abyss. It seemed that this visit was to be my final chapter and I found it so ironic that I almost indicated such at the end of the post. I was lucky and the great wizard (my cardiologist) was able to fix the broken pieces in my heart and here I am today! Your words, appreciation and understanding of this post give this old Tin Man’s heart more reason to keep on beating. YOU have connected to my soul in ways I do not understand………….but so very, very cherish!

      • Now it is me brushing away the tears. I knew you were away. I just didn’t realize how far. I am now absolutely determined that we will meet some how, some way, some day. How can it be otherwise. Please stay well.. Virginia

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