May 6, 2004

The Repeat Button: Jimi Hendrix

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“And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually,” reflects Jimi Hendrix over his psychedelic blues guitar, picked and strummed slow enough to let the potency of that chorus sink in. It’s an unforgettable refrain that captures the irrevocability of fate — the pain of witnessing your work and toil swallowed up by a figurative onslaught of water.

As “castles made of sand slip into the sea,” the present fades into the past, nostalgia seeps into memory, and my time at Cornell expires. For some reason, the image of a sand castle falling into the sea seems like an apt metaphor for our experience at Cornell. The life of a student, spending time on academics, discovering new experiences, making friends, and contributing to the campus in one form or another, at first seems so sturdily placed in the infinite.

And after about four years, inevitably we’ve achieved and experienced more than we could have imagined, only to see our time end with a mere tick of the clock. Even though our time at Cornell “melts into the sea,” the hard tide of graduation only strengthens what we will take away from our experience. At some level, it takes the destruction of the present to realize the past’s value.

Hendrix’s “Castles Made of Sand” presents a series of ironic vignettes all revolving around swift twists of fate. His narrative on the whims of the human experience resonates with all of us now leaving Cornell, wondering what might come next, but more importantly, reflecting on what has passed.

Special thanks to the Sun. Much love for all the writers and editors I’ve worked with; often all of you were my reason to keep writing. Thanks to my friends who withstood the ridiculous amount of hours this paper takes up. Last but not least, a loving thanks to my family for always reading, and no matter the article, always having the highest opinion of my work.

Archived article by Andrew Gilman
Red Letter Daze Staff Writer