While I was still a child of single digit years, my father taught me a poem by Edgar Allen Poe.

Gaily bedight, a gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow
Journeyed long, singing a song
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old, this knight so bold,
And on his life a shadow
Fell as he found no spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And as his strength failed him at length
He met a pilgrim shadow.
“Shadow,” said he, “Where can it be,
This land of Eldorado?”

“Over the mountains of the moon,
Down the valley of the shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,” the shade replied.
“If you search for Eldorado.” 

I had neither idea that “bedight” meant “equipped,” nor that “Eldorado” was a legendary city of gold somewhere in the rain forests of South America, nor that the term had become a synonym for a fool’s quest.  I assumed all would become clear in the right time, and it certainly has.

It may be a little out of date still to call the lost city a legend.  Modern archeology has indeed found evidence of a great city in the Amazon basin now abandoned but still in use not so very long before the conquistadors.  Maybe that should tell us something about the quests of fools.

He taught it to me as something of great significance.  Thoreau once declared that the wisdom of elders as a guide to youth was a myth.  He said no elder had ever offered him wisdom, nor indeed had anyone at all spoken to him earnestly in his life.  I would not change his life for mine.  My parents taught me things.

And so it has happened, that the poem has become the story of my life to date.  I once took great care to improve myself mentally and physically and then well into adulthood began to take an interest in having a little fun.  All that is now many years gone by.  I now only follow the advice of the ghost of the pilgrim. 

I have some more science to offer, but I think I mentioned earlier I was calling it off for a few months and would insert a novel at this point.  During the lull, in case you disdain codes and hate the novel, why don’t you help?  From time to time see if you can get somebody to take an interest.  It would not cost you anything.  And somewhere there is somebody who can take what I have been offering and do a lot of good with it.  Maybe you are already trying. 

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