Wednesday 20 May 2015
I am a collector of small things. Most I can hold in my palm, but some few are larger. I have a substantial collection of antiquities dating from Paleolithic times that I started long ago.
Tucker, my son, has an equal interest in them. When he was a young boy, we moved from a large, luxurious condo fronting the Pacific Ocean, to a nine-hundred square foot house about a mile inland. On his first days there, he explored all the nooks and crannies of the place, looking for secret passageways. To his disappointment, he found none, so one day, while he was at preschool, I made small openings in closet and cabinet walls so he could traverse the house undetected. Now he has grown into a man, and at the University of California, works toward his PhD in physics. He spends summers in Chile working in the Andes Mountains with a state of the art microwave telescope searching for answers to seeming unanswerable questions, same as he did in his youth. He loves what he is doing as much as he loved being a kid in the little house of mystery.
I married Sweet Grecy almost fourteen years ago, and gave up the expense of collecting antiquities. In its place I took up collecting kiddos. No less expensive, but more rewarding by miles. They fill our house in Lenzon. I would give away all my antiquity collection if I could bring one more under our roof. Grecy is there now, in Lenzon, taking care of her farming business. She will be back soon, but hardly soon enough. There is nothing in my collection that fills the empty spot in my gut when she is away.
As many of you know, I live part of my life in that small farming village. The name, Lenzon, is Portuguese. They settled there before the Borgia Pope gave the Philippine Islands to the Spaniards. Maybe seven-eight hundred souls reside in the barrio. I know most by name. Funny, because at our California place, I hardly know the names of my neighbors. I love sitting on the front porch of our big house in Lenzon, late afternoon, hearing the first peals of thunder, knowing a cool breeze and rain will follow. Sweet Grecy will be sitting at her mahjong game, and I will have a tree ripe banana to eat if one of the kiddos does not get it first. It is there I found my peace.
I am haunted by an old wound. One that asserts itself when least needed, and presses down upon me with the weight of several Gs. Right now, one arm is trying its best to act independently, as if it has developed a mind of its own. Typing is difficult, to say the least. I have lived with this and with its associated physical pain for decades. Though it has not become a friend, it has become a predictable companion. One that sits beside me through the day, and screams at me in churlish voices during the dark of night. Oddly, it has taught me gratitude. That it is the gasoline that drives my engine. It makes me realize so much undeserved good has come my way. Sweet Grecy for example. She is a God given boon—a beacon that lights all corners of my life. The most complete human being I have ever known. I count minutes till her return.
I am writing this letter as though writing to friends. Maybe in fact, I am communicating with kindred spirits. But when I think about it, it is all just ones and zeros projected into hyperspace. How does one project warmth into that? I remember reading the letters my maternal grandfather wrote in his fine, printed hand. Letters pages long, that somehow allowed me to feel his bristly chin when he snuggled his face against mine. Maybe it is a possible thing. So—here I sit, sharing thoughts about the way I feel in hopes that some of you will understand all these ones and zeros. Cops say: Lies change, but truth never does. So, I will go on doing my best to be consistent and truthful.
I have to leave now. To go back to my ever expanding world and search ways to be a positive force, if that is a possible thing, I will close the way one of my childhood heroes closed, by saying to all of you: Good bye and good luck.
To read more letters, click on The Path!