A meditation on the passage of a lifetime, witnessing each other, and hearing our own internal witness.

Written on the Cornell Arts Quad:

I’m sitting on a bench dedicated in 1936, after having walked past one from 1892, walking up Cascadilla Gorge like I did when I was 17, with my daughter who’s 13 - but not like I did then, because my legs are wearier and my heart flutters a bit, which makes me think of my dad’s heart, and how he died when I was 13, like she is today, although it’ll be September 5 when she’s the same age as I was then - soon but not yet, not yet - and she is playing tuba in summer band like I did, and as we strolled around killing time we saw students, serious and stylized, and she saw them as her future and I saw them as my past.


coming and going
along these straight paths
and the crooked unwindings
that none of 'em last
the baggage is heavy
the burden is high
i'm walking with you
side by side

i watched you learning
i saw you grow
but if i'd not been there
i still would know
caught in the action
as it goes by
i am your witness
side by side

can't be distracted
never unclear
won't be unsettled
by pain or by fear
even in darkness
a step at a time
always here with you
side by side

and in the end when
the burden is light
when bright day is passing
to dark, sacred night
the entry is waiting
no telling why
i'll walk here with you
side by side
side by side
side by side
side by side


tjw: guitar, vocals