James Perry

See below for a link to James’s audio file.


    A life is much like a river. Its tributaries are the principles that are internalized by it. Its shoals and riffles are the events that alter or disturb its course. The streams and obstacles that compose these principles and events combine to form the greater flowing body. They come together to form a synergy: enriching, strengthening and growing the fledgling river as they pour into it throughout its meander. These rivulets mix and meld together, generating something wholly original and unrepeatable,  something that is so much more than each of its individual elements.

    As this nascent river flows and carves its channel and advances on its course, it slows, widens, and deepens. At this advanced stage, it has accumulated great volume and substance from the countless, sundry streams that have emptied into it. No longer a frolicking, churning and unsure youth, it is now steady and deliberate. The time comes for the old river to meet its end at the hands of the sea. It follows its course towards the impending terminus with an air of calmness, certainty and wisdom. Here, its waters are added to the waters of every river that ever came before it; it is in this way that we are all added one unto another, forever, unto the end of human existence.

    We are not immortal; the immediate memory of our existence will not tarry more than a short time on this earth. But, though only the extraordinary few are long remembered, the influence of every man and woman who ever lived ripples throughout the very fabric of time and is passed down from one generation of humanity to the next. We stand on the pinnacle of the millennia of building, destroying, thinking, fighting, healing, loving, hating, weeping, rejoicing, living and dying. Every inhabitant of God’s green Earth — the centurion, the sailor, the highwayman, the author, the peasant, the president — partakes and partook of the communion of humankind. Our lives are ephemeral. The memories of our lives may linger among the quick for a while after we have died. But our legacies are, in a way, indelible. We will all one day belong to the ages.

    As I prepare for life after I leave a place that I scarcely remember life before, I would like to take a short time to reflect. My fourteen years at Donoho have constituted the first chapter of my great adventure. It is here that I’ve gradually matured from an incipient rivulet into a young river. This place and its people have been principal agents of the forging of my character, conscience and ability, both for better and for worse. The things that I have gained and lost from this grand experience cannot be quantified. As I finally go forth from here into the great beyond of this world, I imagine that I’ll feel many things: accomplishment, serendipity, bittersweetness (mostly sweetness) and so on. What I will always treasure about this place are the tools that I garnered here, tools that I will need to chart my own course and write my own story; a story that will be added unto the stories of all those who came before me and all those who shall come after: the Human Story.

Please click on the arrow below to hear James’s Senior Reading.