Ok, an addendum to this. It turns out that Ess is trying to say “helmet” and it comes out subtly different than when she actually says “home.” So, well, that kind of removes all the poignancy from the story, but still let’s strive for accuracy here.
Just finished giving Ess a bath and putting her to bed. Her adorable, beautiful pink cheeks were sweating a bit at the playground this evening, as it is in the 80s and quite humid. Not much wind. She ran and ran and we walked behind her, steering her out of harms way and keeping her from the things for which she wasn’t yet ready. Now, the sun is setting on this summer evening, one of the longest of the year, and I sit out on the patio, watching the sun set, next to our tomato plants, herbs, and kale. Everything around me is growing and alive and I love moments like this because I can actually convince myself that all the trouble of maintaining all of our stuff and our finances, all that stuff I trouble myself with isn’t what is important. This perspective above the forest doesn’t last long until I fall back to be blinded by the trees. Weekdays seem to be more foresty, weekends more elevated.
It’s a tightly knit community in the dental world, so it wasn’t long until I found out that one of the orthodontists to whom I refer, the one who treated my bite when I was younger, one of those adults who was present, though just in the periphery, of both my adolescence and early adulthood, suddenly passed away. He was 59. Pancreatic cancer. And these things come in clumps: Mykala just buried her grandma Irene. And I loaded up Daring Fireball and right there, pancreatic cancer took someone’s wife. She was 36.
I don’t know, I just can’t make any sense of any of it. Free will. Do we have it? Do we exist in any way after we die? What am I doing here? Religion just utterly falls down for me with these questions. Everyone standing around at Irene’s funerary service saying she’s in a better place. It’s too simple, too sure, too clear-cut, too… dismissive of this huge, impossible mystery. What if it is Occam’s Razor? That the simplest explanation… that all my memories, all my life, all my hopes, everything that makes me me, disappears when I stop breathing, what if that’s it? Then what the hell am I doing each day? Paying back loans? So I can do what? A blink-and-you-miss-it existence. I see those folks, two generations behind me, feeling like their years are dragging on, ready to be done. To me, life feels like it stretches ahead so far, AND it feels like nothing at all. It is nothing at all. Billions of years of the universe and then another little blip of a human. Sitting there, hopelessly occupied by minutia, distracted by entertainment, troubling with trifles, while the galaxy expands, the stars turn, and the indifferent universe carries on.
We were out on a family bike ride, and I was explaining to Ess that when the three of us are together, no matter where that is, that is home. Ess listened closely, and now whenever she sees the bikes in the garage, she says “home.” I didn’t mean to teach her the wrong word for going on a bike ride, but it is too sweet for me to correct.