Day 364: It Won’t Be Long

Six thousand four hundred and fifty eight days– is that a long time? Is it a short time? I think it is a long time. Miles lived 6,458 days, but it was not nearly enough.

My great aunt lived 33,262 days. My grandfather lived for 28,566 days and my grandmother (his wife) lived 19,814 days. My great, great, great, great grandfather lived 21,284 days.

As of today, I have lived 15,967 days. I have wasted a lot of them. I have not spent them the way perhaps I should have. I made decisions years ago that have determined how I spend my days today. I have accumulated many hours and days reading or writing. I have slept perhaps one third of those days. I wonder how many days I have spent in cars or in front of the tv or playing computer games or working? Too many.

I was just a person alone in the world for 9,068 of them, first a baby and then a boy and then a man. On my 9,069th day, I became a father. I was a father to a single son for 1,583 days and on the 1,584th day, I became the father of two sons. This lasted for 4,875 days, but it will never truly end. I will always have two sons.

A single day can seem like a long time. It can pass quickly. Sometimes I wake up to see the sun rise. I try to keep track of the moon and its phases. I try to appreciate the seasons as they exert themselves on the day. I have learned to embrace the winter and its cold dark days. I no longer think of winter as a time to rush through and get over with. There is a beauty in the emptiness of the landscape when the ground is cold and the plants have died and the animals are asleep underground or living far away where it is warmer. I have learned to enjoy the days, every day as much as I can and make the best of them day after day after day until it is impossible to do so anymore. It is easy to lose track of time sometimes.  It is easy to lose track of what a day can mean and how much you can in 24 hours if you really put your mind to it.

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Day 297: All My Loving

Maybe you read this for clues. Like I said before, I write about memories and how I am feeling but I do not reveal everything about me or what’s going on in my life. These posts come from a place deep within me. I expose it to the sun, digging past the layers around it To reveal an interior. But I’m not writing about the layers on the outside and I’m not getting down to the very core. Writing provides me with access to this space, a sweet spot of memories and emotions. 

Maybe you are reading this for clues about the rest of my life. Maybe you are looking for hints about something else.

Maybe you read this for clues. If you find some please tell me what they are. I want to know too.

Day 277: Cry Baby Cry

At the lake, I was very busy with family and friends. I did not have time to soak in the place and remember the past. I did not do so as much as I would have liked.

One memory came vividly to mind about Miles. When I went to the Lake, I stayed at my great aunt’s house. It has been knocked down and replaced with a much larger and nicer house. The old house had a large wraparound porch. We never used the porch. It was exposed to the sun and by the end of the day, it had soaked up all the heat and was not comfortable to sit on. But one day we sat there in the afternoon. My cousin Ned was there. Miles was young, maybe three years old. He wandered over to the far end of the porch and suddenly came darting back. He had walked into a hornet’s nest in the hollow wood porch railing. He was stung half a dozen times, and was screaming, in tears. We treated the stings and calmed him down. He was allergic to everything so we were concerned he might have a reaction. He apparently was not allergic to hornet stings, but the trauma of the event gave him such a shock that he fell asleep immediately and took a long nap.

Late that night, Ned and I took a few cans of hornet spray and doused the nest while they all slept. We killed them because they were too close to the house and we didn’t want the children to get hurt again.

Day 262: Hey Jude

I wish Miles and I had time to explore covers of Beatles songs. This is a great one.  It blows the doors off of the song. It stretches it pretty far.

Paul wrote this for Julian, John’s son. I am writing this about Miles, but really it is for Miles. Hi Miles. This is for you. And this one and this one and this one too. Three hundred and sixty five of them. Have you heard this version? it’s pretty good. It’s great, in fact.

Day 228: I Am the Walrus

Miles had to read a bunch of books for his summer reading in 2014. He had to read King Lear, one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. When we went to Deep Creek Lake for a week in the summer, I rented a 1990s production of the play featuring Ian Holm as Lear. I had been reading and watching different interpretations of the play during the past few months, so I was excited to watch it with him.

It was in the morning. I wanted to get Miles involved in watching the play while he was fresh and awake. It was raining so we couldn’t do much outside. Watching Lear was a great way for me to enjoy the production and for Miles to get some of his summer homework finished.

Lear also interested me because Miles and I had been having a difficult summer. Lear is about a father and his children. It is about a family torn apart and the tragedy of its dissolution. But I knew that there was some happiness in the end, a happiness of some reconciliation. The play was by no means a mapping of my relationship with Miles, but there were lessons there and drama. Lear is a great character. So is Kent. So are the daughters. So is Gloucester.

At first, I was not impressed with the opening scene of this production of Lear. The sets were dated to the 90s. It looked like Martha Stewart had designed the opening scene’s decor– bold single colors for the walls and furniture. I was a little disappointed. Miles sat on one couch and I on the other. The rest of our family sat playing cards, disinterested at far end of the room in the kitchen area.

Ian Holm as Lear was stunningly good. I had been obsessed with the opening scene of Lear for the past few weeks, and Holm knocked my socks off. I soon got over my disappointment with the sets and was drawn into the intensity of the performance. Holm’s Lear was so vicious in his anger, so mean. I was tearful watching the opening scene with Cordelia’s rejection of the deal her father tried to make. The drama shook me. I felt the dispute. I was shaken.

The scene ended and I was relieved. I was not ready for how powerful the experience would feel and how much it would affect me. I looked over to Miles to see if he too understood, if he got it. Miles was asleep. It was too early for him. My entire rapturous involvement with the play completely eluded him. Holm spitting bile in the face of his daughter did not register. Oh well. I am sure he read it on his own and I hope he understood Lear on the heath in his madness. I hope he did because it took me many years to get it and I am not sure I even understand it now.

Day 226: Piggies

Miles liked this song a lot.  He liked George Harrison I think.  Good for him. When I was in high school, the culture was aggressively nostalgic for the 60s and John Lennon loomed large to the Baby Boomers who were buying all the CD reissues, seeing all the pandering movies, and making money off their investments in the second iteration of Woodstock. Lennon loomed large. I saw the movie Imagine with friends and immediately bought the soundtrack. I was into the Beatles and I chose John as my favorite. His rebelliousness appealed to me. Paul seemed too squeaky clean and I did not like the music he was putting out in the late 80s. John had the benefit of his martyrdom; everything was done and in the past, crystallized, and celebrated. George was always a quiet presence in the background and I never really embraced his music until I was much older and acquired All Things Must Pass on CD. I loved it.

Miles liked “Piggies.” I think he may have liked the message and the sinister snide contempt for wealth and greed.

Day 191: Hello Goodbye

I wonder what Miles would be doing if he was alive. He would know where he was going to college. Maybe we would drive there and visit to check it out on a weekend. Maybe it would be RIT. I think he wanted to go to RIT, especially after the workshop he participated in last summer. He would have been really happy there with all the good food and great equipment and faculty. He would have thrived and grown. He would have been a great photographer. It would have been nice to visit him there and meet his friends and take them out to eat. We had a lot of good food on our visit and saw some really cool sites in Rochester. He liked Rochester a lot.

So much promise. I hold on to things. I will hold on to his promise forever. I will think to myself, What would Miles be doing right now. Age 18, 20, 25, 35, 50. My whole life I will imagine what he might be like. What kind of job he’d have, what kind of family. Where he might live and want to travel to. When I’d see him next and how sad it would be to part again.