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Saturday, February 9, 2013

The overwhelming power of Beauty

     My father suffered a heart attack this week. I found him face down on the carpet of his apartment on Wednesday. He was conscious and fairly alert, but shaky and extremely weak. I am unable to fully comprehend the idea that he may have been there for hours, helpless and alone.

     For the last few days, my brother and I have been by his side at the hospital, where he appears stable and is being moderately sedated. It will take some time before we can make any decisions about his long term care. I've been back and forth to his apartment in a retirement community several times, cleaning and sorting through things in an attempt at summarizing the final hours of his presence there and preparing the space, hopeful for his eventual return.

     Last night I had a truly profound experience. In the lobby, assembled near the lit fireplace were 20 or so of his neighbors and fellow residents. They urgently asked me to provide them with details of my father's condition. At first I was just going to stand and tell them that he's stable and should come through it, but then I decided to sit and truly speak with them.

     I filled them in on many of the details. Perhaps too many. Each and every one of them expressed how much they've missed him in the last few days. How they grew to really love him, and how much they appreciated his often off-center outlook on things. These people love him in much the same way as my brother and I do. At this moment, I began to realize how much interaction he really had with people where he lives. And how he affected them by being there. A part of their community.

     Until last night, I had only provided information on his condition to the staff and one other resident with whom he appears to have a wonderful relationship and friendship. I wanted her to know he was alive and seemingly stable. Though I don't know her feelings for my father, I do know that he adores her character, her experiences, and her completely on-point and razor sharp intellect.

     The residents in the lobby said they had been asking her for as many details as she could provide, and that she was especially concerned for my father's health. I could no longer keep it together. I lost it completely and broke down in the elevator as it graced it's way up to the third floor, where his apartment is.

     I've learned that the things that trigger my tears, are from beauty and love and caring. Whenever I think about how much my father is appreciated or adored, or loved... my emotions overflow and I begin to weep.

     When I think about all the things that my father loves and cherishes, the same wave of overwhelming emotion hits me. His love of music. Of brilliant women. The beauty of Jellyfish. The fragility fossils. Of automobiles. And of my late mother.

     I hope to get him back in the coming weeks. I want to shed tears for his recovery next.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Breaking Mental Bread

     It seems I'm destined to be surrounded by a shit ton of independent thinking and creative people with vastly different skills and interests than myself. I'm not sure if this a conscious decision or something else entirely. It's not luck or destiny. But I'll take it.

     Cabinet makers, metal smiths, wood workers, potters, contractors, film makers... the list goes on. Every time I peer in to one of their worlds I learn something new and gain an even greater appreciation for whatever their alien craft might be. There's always more beneath the surface of these people I tend to encounter, than one might imagine. What makes each of them the object of my intrigue and affection, is the way in which our common interests and passions tide in and out in our day-to-day being.

     The man that fixed my leaking ceiling tonight and I talked about Latin and South American food. He's a middle aged white guy in a small rural Pennsylvania town just like me, and yet he spoke of his love of Argentina and Brazil (particularly the music), and his affinity for Cubans.

     I winked and showed him a photograph of the most stunning Paella I've ever seen. One created by my "second family's" mother. A woman of Cuban descent I've known for over three decades.

     Immediately he gasped and asked me to e mail him the photograph. He's the second person that's made that request of me after seeing this image (photo courtesy of George Lampman) and yet I hardly know him. This plumber / carpenter / apartment maintenance savior / world traveler in my living room. 

     Apparently there's a market for serious food porn. I should probably start a website and sell advertizing to chili enhancement pharmaceutical companies. 

     I really don't know. I just fix cars.

     So... as a test of the ether's ability to enable lusts of all kinds, I now present it to you all.

Remember: This is an experiment. A social one.