All Alone, Together…or Not!

A get together with family yesterday
reminded me of how quickly life can pass us by.
We spend far too much time on busywork
leaving slip the things that really cause us joy.


The footprints that we leave upon this earth
gone tomorrow, just like the driven snow
and for what, when all our time is spent
fretting or trying to impress the ones we barely know.


Too many go and spend their entire lives
buying things, in search of that one great thing:
bigger houses, trucks; ever more expensive toys;
a desperate search for elusive pleasure they will bring.


Yet surrounded, all, by so much wealth
and connected, all, in such wondrous ways
all you see are groups of individuals–
no common cause to guide them through their days.

Each one, taught they were special right from day one
An effort, maybe, to build up their self esteem
as if that alone would ever be good enough:
“You’re great. Just soar and realize your dream!”


So you see them at bus stops each and  every day
cellphones in hand, 8 people turned away, back to back.
Facebook, Twitter or some other digital megaphone
shouting, “Look at me, I’m better than the pack.”

But maybe it’s just that they misunderstood.
“You’re special” doesn’t mean you should get more.
No, we’re saying you’re worthwhile and and if you try very hard
and work with others then maybe you MIGHT just soar.


But still it’s not just doom and gloom for all.
Just look around and still it’s there for you to see.
So many still working and playing fine together,
knowing the best in life is not “You” or “I” but “we.”


After all we can spend our time collecting stuff,
always in hope of the pleasure that each new thing brings.
But still it’s good to recall Buchwald, who wisely said,
“The best Things in life, they are not things.”


For solitude is still a wonderful thing–
nothing wrong with time alone riding out the wintry weather.
But still, the best of all comes out and makes us shine
when we look around and face the world together.

St. Patrick’s Day and -7 going down to -9. Paddy B’y, can you and Sheilagh please give us a break from all of this? 🙂


About Maurice A. Barry

Coordinator: Teaching and Learning Commons, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Parent & Husband. eLearning consultant/coordinator. Program Development Specialist - eLearning (Department of Education; Retired). Writer: over 40 Math/Physics texts/webs. Developer & Manager of web content. Geek. Not into awards but loves comments.
This entry was posted in Newfoundland and Labrador, poetry/songs, Society and Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to All Alone, Together…or Not!

  1. Johnny says:

    Very nice, my friend, .. reflective and … true

    “Have a great day!” …. no matter the weather or season … (especially when considering an alternative)

  2. Tiny says:

    Lovely thoughts (fully agree) and pictures! I particularly loved the pictures of people enjoying the winter’s joys together. We used to play ice hockey in the same way on the lake when I was growing up.

    • It’s the only way I love hockey. The stadium stuff is too nasty. Old timers like me have old bones that don’t like being crunched into the boards by those twenty somethings. On the pond we had a couple of practical rules. No checking. Stick below the knees (too easy to lost the puck from hard shots and besides we generally had no “equipment.”) We could still play hard and have fun.

  3. Mary says:

    Yes = Lovely! Photos and words connect – the first 2 with footprints and like Tiny I greatly enjoyed the photos of winter fun – (thought it could even be you and your 3 boys at some point) – revives memories of skating beside hockey games on the ‘bottom Pond” Thanks for posting. So true!! Hope you are enjoying celebrating many bday celebrations this week – son; brothers in law. good times for sure

    • Nothing like the bottom pond. It’s quite an anomaly really with how good it is for skating. It’s because the proximity to the water–very little snow accumulates on it. Funny–today there are so few young people there’s hardly ever anyone on it 😦

  4. jennypellett says:

    Lovely sentiments and the pictures match them beautifully. I like the sledging picture best: reminds me of a Bruegel painting.

  5. tw says:

    Wise words indeed. Our time is short and things are meaningless; realising this at the outset is possibly one of the best realisations we’ll ever have. Your photos are lovely, the stuff of story books and adventure.

    • Thank you. Yes, every day brings with it the chance for … life. It’s our choice how we wish to meet it. Some days we can be quiet and introspective, others just plain hard working and still others we can say, “Frig this–I’m having some fun!”

  6. Marie says:

    The contrast between simple joys abundant in everyday moments and the excessive distractions that draw our attention to false riches was beautifully balanced in image and verse.

  7. How true, how true. Wise words from a wise individual. Unfortunately these lessons are long in coming for some, if not most. Joanna and I have always tried hard not to accumulate ‘things’ for so many reasons. And we feel that we’ve been pretty successful in teaching our daughters the same … anyway, isn’t that what it’s all about. Passing it forward I mean? D

    PS: It is true indeed that the best things in life are free. But very few of us take it in and live our lives by the fact.

    • With so much urbanization it’s hard not to get caught up. Thank goodness there are still enclaves left where we can reestablish a sense of self.
      On a different note guess what–we are getting Sheilagh’s brush today.
      And again tomorrow.
      And again on Wednesday.
      We have a saying here about the Month of March–perhaps you have the same one:In like a lion, out like a lamb; in like a lamb out a lion. This year it roared in with cold temps, snow and wind so according to the saying it should be mild on the way out. Sadly it seems unlikely.
      Looking forward to April now 🙂

  8. elkement says:

    This is again very interesting from a “cross-cultural perspective”: Actually, over here (in middle Europe) it is often bemoaned that we don’t encourage children enough and don’t tell them to realize their potential or that they are special in any respect – in contrast to the North American culture (or what we think the North American culture is).

    A book written by an Austrian professor in genetics caused some stir: It is titled “The average trap” and he basically says that children are trained / encouraged to be (just) average and mediocre, by trying to improve what they are worse at instead of making them use of their most exceptional skills – that are then bound to shrivel.

    • I believe there is considerable evidence for that. Consider the result when US kids are compared with Japanese counterparts when encountering difficult mathematics problems. The Japanese students will put extra effort in when they find the problems hard and the US kids will do the opposite–put in extra effort when they find them easy. This may be interpreted to offer indirect evidence that US kids seek self-gratification while the Japanese students seek to become better. I suppose, in the end, the differences are cultural but there’s still s strong case to be made for learning from others 🙂

  9. Martin says:

    Beautiful words Maurice, accompanied by great pics. Thanks for the reminder of how we need to focus on the here and now, and the people around us who are special to us. Hope you are surviving the blasts!

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