Sunday, June 21, 2009

27 Things My Father Taught Me

How to ride a bike
How to fix a bike chain when it fell off the only bike we could afford
How to swim
How to dive
How to hold my breath without holding my nose
To love the ocean
That the ocean could heal anything
The importance of the right tool for the job
The importance of improvisation
How to put a sick pigeon out of its misery
How to watch t.v. and sleep at the same time
How to properly throw and catch a baseball
How to paint
To rinse the sand off our feet before getting in the car after the beach
The joy of driving fast
The importance of health
To appreciate a good sandwich
The importance of education
How to ride a horse
The importance of family
How to tell a good bedtime story
How to get one’s heart broken
How to leave and not look back
That much is worth laughing at
The elusiveness of luck
How to grieve
How to endure

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Summer Time

I’m convinced that time moves more slowly during the summer. I just spent a good hour watching two spiders in the corner of my study. No idea what they were actually doing, but among the possibilities: completing a web, boxing, playing, mating, philosophizing. They were right up close to one another, using two legs each to feint and jab, stroke and pat each other. Now they’ve backed off and appear to be at rest, utterly still and upside down. Actually, one is a sound sleeper, totally motionless, belly to the sky, while the other seems to be doing a dreamy ballet, two of its legs slowly stretching and contracting. This morning I watched another spider in the bathroom, at the ceiling. That one seemed to be trying to make out with its own shadow. Its body would bump and re-bump against the ceiling, over and over, until eventually it dropped on a strand of silk, either frustrated or sated. Who knows, maybe spiders really can mate with their shadows, maybe soon there will be ghostbaby spiders all over the house. Maybe that’s what I feel sometimes, those inexplicable shivers or tickles or faint caresses that seem to have no source. At any rate, I think I spent an hour with the spiders, but for all I know it was the entire morning, or a mere ten minutes. I keep losing track of what time it is, what day. No surprise -- half the time I don’t know what year we’re in, even though right now we’re smack in the middle of ’09 -- I’ve had six months to figure it out. Some mornings I lie in bed mulling over a lot of nothing, realizing that twenty minutes have passed and I’ve accomplished little more than determining which window a bee was buzzing at.

I should be grateful for these lazy passages, the lengthening of an afternoon or the enduring stretch of a given hour. Five decades have passed so fast… it’s only right that some benevolent deity or lucky twist of fate or circumstance of my own aging brain allows the perception that little parcels are exceptions, certain periods of time don’t fly, don’t fly, but unfold with the luxurious grace of a spider’s delicate leg.