“Old friends, sat on their park bench like bookends”
– Paul Simon
I first heard this understated, minimalist Paul Simon song when I was a mere 25 years old. At that time the illusory feeling of timelessness blinded me to the poignancy of the tune. There is a wistfulness to age-ing.
An old friend of mine is visiting in Denver. Daily, we take a walk in Washington Park and guess what? After a mile or so we sit on a bench and gaze at the lake that is populated with a variety of birds.
Simon’s song depicts a state of loneliness and vacuousness. While we relax, I realize that age-ing is not as desolate as the young songwriter suggested.
We occupy the same bench every morning, reminiscing between long gaps of silence. Among the birds there is a beautiful, white pelican. It glides effortlessly on the still lake, occasionally ducking its large beak to snatch a fish.
We are fascinated by the unique features of this creature. There is no need for politics, the madness of the world, or the daily pathos of life. For these moments we are two old men, sitting on a park bench like bookends, but as The Beatles so aptly sung, “nothing to get hung about.”