I remember that day 20 years ago as if it was yesterday. Professor George Willauer the tweed-wearing veteran chair of the Connecticut College English Department — and also the man who inadvertently propelled me into the visual arts by destroying all hope that I could be a writer — smiled broadly as he began the first line:
I wandered lonely as a cloud.
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
By the end of his recitation of William Wordsworth’s “I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud”, and his rhapsody about snapping out of a vacant or pensive mood I too had snapped out of my sardonicism. F'ing Wordsworth got it! What it’s like to wander in your own identity landscape and stumble upon a long forgotten visual. All the way back in 1807 he got that and he got the small miracle of spring.
And so every spring right before I think I can't take it any longer, when those brave daffys are being bantered about by hail and April showers, the poem begins playing in my mind: I wandered lonely as a cloud…I wandered lonely as a cloud…I wandered lonely as a cloud.
This weekend I Wandered a collaboration with Karen Stein Shanley of GoodGood will open and we’ll all get to share in the profundity of wandering, of observing our geography/place, and reconnecting with the lost art of meditative walking. Select phrases from the poem and graphics will be in six different spots around the Fort Point neighborhood. Check out iwandered.me for the entire poem and exact locations.
Rest in peace professor Willauer. May jocund company surround you always.