Sunday, August 14, 2011


I fear the prospect of impermanence because it means even in the refuge of my mind, nothing is safe.

My father, sits across from me with the phone tucked between his left ear and his arched palm. My father, skin bronzed in exchange for courage, in exchange for each tick tock passed burning as one foot after the other descended into the hot sand, to be seared by the earth while above exposed skin was offered to the sun. There is a gentle curve to his features: the slight crinkle at the eyes, the bounce in the corners of the mouth. It hints at an inner calm as he trades technicalities with his father, discussing the construction of the new chain link he is putting up around our backyard, because the old picket was weak and unsafe to contain Rambo. 

I study his face and his mannerisms and the sunbleached gray of the tee shirt i gave him. I study these and try to press each gentle curve and every corresponding harsh line into the wet mud of my memory, try to hold them there to place the image, so that when i go back to it it will have set, like the metal post I helped hold steady while my father poured concrete mix into the displaced earth around it. But now i worry, because only two days have passed and i can't think if there was a line of sweat guarding his brow. No, his skin was bronze but matte, that i remember. It framed well the watercolor of his eyes. That's what i love most. The bronze skin around the bright eyes; the content tranquility against melancholy lines.

His hair is not the charcoal black from the pictures, nor does it stand tall with thick curls amassed into a crown. Instead, it is cropped close to his head, where a pseudo widow's peak has formed. Before my eyes my father's hair has gone from black with gray flecks to gray tinged with black. His skin and features are lived in, but he is just as handsome, if not more, because i think age makes some things lovelier than before. i just worry that this mud i play in where no prying eyes can catch me will never turn to stone. And if it does set, will i no longer be able to frolic in it with this freedom? 

We try so hard to make things last, try so hard to go against nature, to immortalize things, take photos to freeze time, halt aging, yet maybe the beauty of life is the fleeting impermanence. Maybe the transitions and the transience and the metamorphoses and the ebb and flow of thoughts and recollections are what keep our lives interesting, makes them beautiful, different yet the same. Swimming in thoughts that have no structure and molding them constantly into shapes, always different and never solid; the innumerable outcomes and the infinite space to think and grow and recall newness from that which is old. This is perhaps more striking than if everything was a perfect picture pulled from a photo album in the back of our mind. i don't know what i am talking about but i hope maybe you do.

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