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The Den

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When a human being is of that impressionable age of early childhood, a select few places on this earth make an imprint upon his recollection, causing those places to forever remain at the heart of his memories, even if such places are never to be visited in later years of life. Most people do, in fact, retain friendly acquaintance with most of these places, and they often become our places of refuge in a life full off turbulence and motion.

One of the places I visited most outside of my own home in my early youth was the house in which my paternal grandparents resided. It was constantly the site of Christmas parties, family birthdays, and visits having no celebratory purpose other than the possibility of being together that day. It stands out in my memory as a home away from home, a place to be with family and simply enjoy my young life.

Today, time and people have past. My grandfather no longer lives among us in this world, and my grandmother’s condition in her age makes her continued residence in this house impossible. Ownership of the place has technically passed to my aunt, but in spirit it belongs to all of us in the family. It is still the site of family events, landmarks, and holidays. I still frequent the house, and one room in particular.

In the back of the house is a study, always referred to as the den, previously occupied by my grandfather. Although its original inhabitant has now passed on, the relics of his scholarly pursuits remain in the room, both as a token of his life, and as a beckoning to those that come after him. I find this to be my great retreat in the world, as I am certain he did before me. Among the books and the maps, the magazines and the newspapers, I find myself free, not only to seek and gain knowledge, but to reflect in sacred silence the meaning of what I learn. I find that not only knowledge, but the wosdom to learn how best to apply that knowledge, can be garnered from solitude in a familiar place. Many people have a place to study, but how many honestly have a place to think?

The presence of such a place as my grandfather’s den has been a key factor in the formative years of my life. I feel it is part of the great legacy of my grandfather, leaving for future generations this sanctuary of thought. Perhaps that is the greatest thing one can leave for posterity, greater than money or property: the ability to learn and grow as a human being. I hope that the thoughts and ideas I have gathered while in the den will leave me prepared to do the same for those that come after me.





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