Thursday, January 20, 2011

One year ago...

A year flies by, but it drags all the same...

“Though fast youth's glorious fable flies,
View not the world with worldling's eyes;
Nor turn with weather of the time.
Foreclose the coming of surprise:
Stand where Posterity shall stand;
Stand where the Ancients stood before,
And, dipping in lone founts thy hand,
Drink of the never-varying lore:
Wise once, and wise thence evermore.”
Herman Melville

I can't really compress my thoughts on this first anniversary of my dad's death into a blog post, so I won't even try.

The above Melville poem is called "Lone Founts". Melville originally thought to call it "Giordano Bruno", after a 16th century monk burned at the stake for his skepticism and for both his belief in the unity of all things, and in that the universe revolved around neither earth nor man. The last e-mail my dad ever pecked out was to make sure I'd forwarded to Matt a video of the universe he watched over and over again.

This is from a little IBM binder my dad kept back in the 70's. It's full of short, thoughtful pieces, like this one:

May 7, 1971

Once, in 1971 I got to be 38. It has stayed with me forever. A doctor who examined me said that I "just got to be 40 two years early." It astounded me. What it meant was that everybody had certain kinds of problems and that these were associated with middle age. I never knew that.

Sometimes I think we worry about the kids too much. We've already got them started so that their character is pretty much determined. The years ride by and it's silly to worry about the kids and how they will cope with the short years they'll have left after their childhood ceases. St. Augustine wasn't very wrong when he talked about giving him the kid 'till he was seven.

There's a book that can be written called "How They Paid" and if it's thought out carefully can be very good. I need to think about it. Everybody, it seems to me of late, pays for his tour here. I don't understand yet why some pay more than others. This touches on the equity thing that disturbs me badly. I am rationalizing my way around it but I really haven't found the answer yet. That bleeding guy in East Pakistan and me--where's the equity? My rationalization goes that we all pay--me as well as the Pakistani because of an intellectual awareness on my part that he does not have. Thus I am able to be tortured by things that roll off his back. Every time I see an older guy now I find out that he's paying in some way. Years of physical discomfort and pain. Mental anguish of some sort. A beloved wife who's died and he has to hang around life without her. How they paid. Everybody pays.