there was a picture at my parents' house of my dad in a suit, at a wedding, dancing with his daughter who looks taller than himself.
he looked my age.
of course, that's a filipino thing, and he'll always look like he's just a bit older than i am, while i, in the meantime, lose all my hair, wrinkle frequently, and ache every time i bend down. there are problems, being only half filipino.
i realized that time has really passed. obviously, you think, time passes all the time. i know. but its passage becomes a bit more blatant when we get comparison moments, when we take stock, when we genuinely fear the reality of losing people we've too long (always) taken for granted.
shovelling snow this afternoon, my mom noted that she was glad that i had kids, as it gives me continually more insight into my own parents, and their struggles, and their deeds, and all that stuff. i'm pretty sure that's the way it is with everything that we do that other people did first and that we then gain perspective about. age, getting old, hit me today.
i've seen people get older. i've seen them watch their own ideals crumble all around them, succumbing to the wear and tear of time and all its stuff, while they've lost their strength, youth, energy, compassion, passion, conviction, optimism, innocence, and anything else they may have used to buttress. there was that time that i said to charlie that we were here to make the world a better place. and he vehemently disagreed, insisting that the only option was to take care of himself and his, everyone else be damned. charlie, it turns out, has taken care of me, and made me better and put a roof over my head and food in my stomach and music in my ears and laughter in my throat, countless times. i guess i'm just lucky to be part of him and his.
i thought all this while walking next to a pressure-treated fence. ugly and green-tinged looking like cellulose syphilis, the fence just kinda hung there, functioning. it was not beautiful. any attempt it may have made at aesthetics was sadly lost in that insistent green, that refusal to become organic, that synthetic pride.
my dad was the one who got me on a lot of my paths, usually directly, by invitation; sometimes by pissing me off or driving me away. i learned how to love from him. i learned how to pamper a hard-working partner who works all night and has to sleep during the day. i learned how to cook. i learned how to sharpen a knife and split wood and sharpen a chain saw and cut logs and cut a chicken and set a table and clean a bathroom and use a hammer and a computer and a bike and an allen key and a tire lever and the environment. i wonder what he would think about a pressure-treated fence. i wonder if he knows that cedar is better for the environment, more easily-replaced as a resource, and infinitely more beautiful. for a guy who spent his youth making beauty in the darkroom or on his martin D28 and his 8-octave voice, he's amazingly resistant to engaging in aesthetic preference. but man, you should hear him sing...
i drove home in bad conditions today, four incomplete red oak table legs itching to be hewn, lying on the planer in my parents' basement. progress will have to wait.