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Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson

“Legacy. What is a legacy?

It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.” — Hamilton I remember my high school graduation like it was yesterday.

I remember how the week before the kids from the shop classes were busy building a gazebo in the middle of our high school football field. How the chairs were set up and the jockeying and drama of deciding who you would walk with into the ceremony. I remember too, the storm that rolled in mid-ceremony that had us scrambling to get into the undersized gym before getting drenched.

I remember grinning at my friends. I don’t remember the speeches. I am sure they were quite nice, and someone probably said something about plastics at some point. Like much of my senior year, I was not so much in the present as I was looking ahead toward the horizon and the future.

I have found myself in recent weeks pausing at times in the middle of tasks and thinking about the past and about the future.

My son, Alex, will be among the hundreds of area students graduating from high school this weekend.

I have found myself worrying about what kind of world these students are graduating into. Internationally, there is conflict and tensions that threaten to draw America into yet more foreign wars as we attempt to keep those conflicts from our shores.

Closer at home, demagoguery has replaced discourse and debate. There are mainstream politicians making verbal attacks on fundamental tenants of American democracy that would be enough to have the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.

This newly-minted crop of graduates will live in a world where automation and artificial intelligence are not just science fiction tropes, but will make increasing inroads presenting competition for jobs.

I found myself worrying about the future our graduates will be entering and if we did enough to prepare them for that future. Specifically, I wonder if I did enough to prepare my son to be a good man — whatever that may even mean in tomorrow’s world.

I am sure my parents and their parents and every generation of parents has asked those same questions and shared those same worries and scratched their heads at the younger generations’ weird ideas.

I found comfort in that realization. Each generation faces its own challenges and finds its own way and the seeds we plant grow tall and strong.

On Friday afternoon, I was walking into Medford Motors. We were going in to talk about finally getting a new vehicle to replace one that died last winter. I passed Roger Emmerich loading an apple tree into his vehicle to plant at his home.

I couldn’t help but find optimism and hope for the future in an octogenarian planting apple trees that won’t begin to bear fruit for years but will flower and grow for decades to come. I was reminded of the Greek proverb “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit.”

For the past few weeks we have been watching a robin family in the shrub by my front door. From bright-blue eggs which hatched into tiny chicks, each day we would note their size and guess at their health. In our own way, we worried over them nearly as much as their momma bird did.

On Saturday, the young birds left their nest, starting their own journeys and their own adventures.

As I have been attending graduation events in the past week, I have seen the graduates and their parents begin to adjust to and accept that a milestone in their lives is being crossed. As the ink dries on this chapter of their lives, others remain yet to be written.

As I see the young people getting ready to go out into the world and make their mark on it, I have hope and faith that the future is in good hands.

Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News. Contact Brian at