I left my house this morning at 4:45AM.
The sun was about to rise and the birds were chirping. I walked to my car and thought, “I used to come home at this time,” but that was a long time ago and I was a different person then.
There was a cool wind coming from the north and the moon was still out. I drove away from my house and headed in to fill another overtime shift on a Sunday morning.
Behind me, the sun began its rise and its reflection changed the colors of the glass buildings on Hempstead Turnpike.
And as I drove, my daughter is somewhere upstate. I suppose she was sleeping at that time. I imagine she was sleeping in her bunk with her bunkmates. I suppose she is happy to see her camp friends and be back with them after another long year at school.
I envision the walls of their bunk have already been decorated with posters of some modern day boy band. I am sure my daughter has her stuffed animals tucked close to her when she sleeps, and I am fine with that, because that would mean a piece of home is always with her. And if a piece of home is with her, then that means I am with her.
She’s a fifth grader now….
I never knew parenting could be this beautiful, and yet, so wonderfully painful. And what I mean is there is an edge to this beauty. Its edge is razor sharp.
Youth is fleeting and life is a process. However, the process is unpredictable, and my child is growing right before my eyes. I began to think of my daughter and I smiled. But I smiled with a tear in my eye, which is good. This means I love, which makes me just as beautiful as she is.
As I drove closer to the city, I saw the tip of the Freedom Tower poking over the overpasses along the Grand Central Parkway. Its glassy sides reflected the sun, and to the east, I noticed scattered patches of pastel clouds. It has been more than a decade since The Towers went down, so I don’t mind seeing the Freedom Tower from miles away. It reminds me that we can rebuild no matter how bad the damage is.
During drives like this, I usually choose something calm or soothing to listen to. This morning, I chose to listen to a live version of Franklin’s Tower by the Grateful Dead. I felt this worked nicely with my thought process.
In front of me was the city where I have spent more than two decades working, earning and surviving.
Behind me was the reason why I do what it is I do. Behind me, was the road to my home.
My home sits in the middle of a modest block. I live on a street where I am greeted by my neighbors and considered to be a benefit to my community.
I like that.
Across the street from my house is my friend The Old Tree. I speak of him often, but I think no one understands. I see that tree as a symbol of my endurance, and though no one likes the tree, and though many of my neighbors want to cut it down, I tell my friend The Old Tree, “Don’t worry….I won’t let them hurt you.”
I’m not sure if the tree can hear or understands this….but words like these are always good to hear from a friend.
Inside of my house is filled with photographs, memories, and family. I suppose my wife was sleeping as I drove in this morning. I imagine she was surrounded by our two dogs, and one, if not both, were sleeping on my side of the bed. I figured Buster the Bulldog took top position and slept on my pillow. Brody, on the other hand, probably curled up in a ball and nuzzled his face into the side of my wife’s body. But I don’t blame him. Had I been home, I would have been doing the same thing.
A lot has happened in the last few months. I have become more involved at work, which is not a bad thing. This is good, but it leaves no time for my family.
On top of life’s usual incidents and accidents, and aside from the bills, mortgage, and the chores of being a homeowner, my mother is in the hospital.
She had a heart attack and I don’t know how to feel. I suppose I am numb. Or maybe I am processing the beginning of an end. Maybe I am frightened, or maybe I am angry because the irrational side of emotion does not understand why she cannot get better.
She once told me, “In the beginning it is written.”
No one knows the time we have here. No one knows how healthy we will be today or tomorrow…all I know is now.
I was thinking about these things during my drive this morning…but at the same time, I was thinking about nothing. I was conscious of my direction, and I was aware of the road, but I was lost in thought.
The sky was pretty this morning. My drive was quiet, and not everything in the world is so dark and gray.
Sometimes I feel angry. Sometimes I shake my fists, and some days I grit my teeth. This morning I noticed a hawk sitting on a lamppost just before the exit near the Jackie Robinson Parkway. There was no bad news reported on the radio and there was nothing disturbing in my morning’s newsfeeds.
Even with everything as it is….today was a good day
I feel hopeful….you know?
As if, maybe I can turn this around