Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Surely Joy is the Conditon of Life

"Surely joy is the condition of life."
Henry David Thoreaux

Do you notice the moments in your always passing days that point to that little something more? It's that bit of a happening that seizes your gaze and demands that you turn and look. It's as if time extends hands that grip my jawline and forcefully pivot my head to see the pure gold that is spun in my presence. Golden moments that I might surely miss in my haste and schedule.

There she stood, looking right back at me. The evening sun was slipping behind the railroad tracks. A locomotive was rumbling its way towards us, racing the sun to the horizon. We were in some odd limbo that existed in stasis between the spring equinox and a lingering gasp of winter snow. The ice cream stand was open, and the air was bitter cold. We ordered ice cream in sunlight that promised warmer days.

I was bundled in a synthetic wool coat from H&M and Columbia gloves whose effectiveness fell short of the dollars that I spent to stretch them over my white-walker fingers. I detest the cold and find that my tolerance of it is a weakness. I refused to shiver as the shadows lengthened and spoon by spoon I transfered icecream from bowl to my mouth. I could see steam rising from my tongue with each asinine bite.

I was ready to return to my car and crank up the heat... but then I noticed... her. There she stood, looking right back at me. The cold no longer mattered. I was warmed from the core of my heart to the tips of my useless gloves. The moment seized me. Joy was the condition of my life. I no longer cared how long this moment might take. The chill of the ice cream was forgotton now by the warm sweet taste of the hot fudge on my tongue. 

She is only fourteen. She asked her father to take her to the ice cream stand so that she could see the boy she loved, for just a moment. I stood there as she looked at me.

I wasn't the boy she was here to see, but I was the man who made her desire a reality. She's my daughter and we're eating ice cream in the frozen air as the sun races a train. Her heart surely must have accelerated for those few moments when she locked eyes with her beau... 

... and this day meets every expectation of the condition of my life.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Truly Madly Deeply... Living in the Bonus

I will always think of you in the sunlight of the Ulm Cathedral. We were so young then. We climbed to the top and I laid flat on my back to photograph you in the archway with sunlight silhouetting your figure. You were my fairy tale, my muse, my somehow forbidden secret that I had to hold.

I think of you at breakfast in Moscow. We had leveraged everything we had to exist in that moment. We'd taken loans on our retirement, mortaged against our house, borrowed from our parents and our grandparents, and we had landed ourselves by the grace of God in Russia to take home our daughter.

Every single morning the Savage Garden song, "Truly Madly Deeply" played. I felt like the entire world found a solidity in that moment. My world was perfect. I was with you. We were there together. We were adopting our daughter. Truly... yes, we were fully committed with no pretense. Madly... oh yes, it required a bit of madness. And deeply... I was absolultely sinking in the thick depths of our commitment.

I see you, girl. There have been times that I've lost you. We've covered so much ground since 1992. You said, "Yes," though... and it's been together ever since. I thank God for clanging TGI Bells and onion soup. I thank God for secret earrings purchased on a snowy carriage ride Cincinnati night.

This week your dear grandparents passed. Together, only days apart. I'm taken back to their 50th wedding anniversary in the hall of Breiel Boulevard. They made longevity feel young. Pure. Fresh. Right. How perfect that they married the same year that our favorite movie, It's a Wonderful Life, was released. They lived out that movie. 

Where do we go from here? It doesn't matter. It's about who I am with you, what we've done to get us to this point, and the three children we've produced together. Everything else is just bonus.

We're living in the bonus.