Day 351: Borderline

Mason and Dixon Park on the border of Monongalia County in West Virginia and Greene County in Pennsylvania is one of my favorite places. It is a short drive on Route 7 from Morgantown. I took Miles and Owen there many times when they were young. I have so many great memories of walking with them along the trails.

I remember one day we took some plastic army men with us. It had rained a lot over the previous few days so the trails were muddy. We found a rivulet flowing down the hillside to Dunkard Creek, the stream that runs along the lower path. It was a small stream of water, and it was a great place to stop and play. We set up the army men along the dammed up little seep that came out of the hill. The water pooled. We released the water and it knocked the army men down. Owen loved this kind of game– setting up army men and imagining complex battles. We were all three deeply concentrating on this little world we had created in this little stream. We spent more than an hour all three of us in the late summer sun under the canopy of sycamores and maples playing army together.

This picture of Mason and Dixon Park in the autumn with Miles in the foreground is one of my favorite pictures ever. It brings back so many great memories of Saturdays and Sundays just us boys.

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Day 335: All I Want

All I want is a few small changes here and there in the past that might alter what happened last year. All I want.

I think about times when Miles was little and he wanted something. So much of parenting is negotiating. Why can’t he have something that he really wants? I was 24 when he was born. I am sure I could have done so much better. We did not have much money to spend, so I could not give him everything he wanted, but I gave him what I could. When I was young, I gave him my time. I did not play golf or go to football games or spend my time or money recklessly. But I could have been home more. I could have played fewer softball games. I could have spent less time at work. But I spent many hours and days with Miles and with Owen, just us and sometimes with friends.  I do not regret any time we spent together. Walking. Listening to music. Playing in the yard. Going to the park. Seeing a movie. Getting pizza. Just sitting around. I wish I could have given him more. I wish I could have given him more of what he wanted.

Day 334: I Shall Be Released

I do it a lot. I imagine where Miles might be at the moment. He is at college. It is night, a weeknight midweek. Maybe he is at the library studying. Maybe it is one of those periods in college when there is not much to do. It is several weeks into the semester and there is a rhythm to life, even into the first year, the first fresh innocent year as a freshman. He knows a lot of people. He has new friends. He and his roommate get along but he hangs out down the hall with the guy who likes some of the same music; he has heard of Ty Segall and he used to ride a skateboard. They walk at night around campus and see what they can discover. They eat lunch and dinner together in the dining hall. Miles likes his classes. He does really well in his literature and composition courses. He has trouble getting motivated for math. He texts his parents and talks to them occasionally. He and his brother see each other on-line playing games together. They miss him. They miss him so much and they wish he was closer, but in this world they know that he is becoming more of who he is and growing up.

Day 245: Amelia

Dear Miles,

I went to the darkroom and picked up the last of the black and white film you shot last year. There are no more. All the rolls I know about are developed.

The darkroom at the Pajama Factory is much bigger. Ralph doubled the size by moving the wall. You would have loved it. You would have spent your summer there and at Woodward. You would have skated and developed film. You would experiment with the tintypes with Ralph’s working group.

You would have had a great summer. You would have made beautiful pictures.

Love you. Miss you. Dad