Two years on and at times it feels like ten, other times it seems like i blinked, time being an arbitrary thing it stretches out in an endless wave, what is the meaning in 730 days, 24 months, 17,520 hours, it can be broken down in any number of ways but it will always be the same distance from my heart and soul and thoughts, time... the most valuable commodity we are given and so much of it wasted on the useless and inane tasks of what the esteemed Gulfboot Johnson once dubbed "trinkets for chores." That day, the longest of days, is never as far away as it seems on a calendar, it's with me everywhere i go, it's as it should be, that day i learned much more than i realized at the time, it wasn't a satori in the sudden sense of the word but more a satori slowly savored and digested in a way that let the emotions and thoughts of that day ebb and flow like the tides, the universe, the void, had placed a question at my feet, bowed, then wandered off leaving me to hopefully figure it out in my own good time. I have and i haven't as there is no end to the process of learning and living until of course we must learn the process of non-living. And so on that longest day when i knew that i would soon lose my father there was nothing to do but breath and accept the lessons being tossed my way and to take those lessons and incorporate them into all, to make use of time, to smile and laugh, to cry and get angry, to sit quietly in the dark, to work hard and play hard and live hard in the softest sense of the word. Dig?
So here i sit...it's not lost on me that one of the greatest things my father gave me growing up was freedom, and now, even in his passing he has given me freedom, of the financial sort this time, from the Breadwinner, not in the set for life sort of way but in the i can buy a cup of coffee or the boyos lunch and not have to explain my expenditures kind of way. Two years of endless now and there are not many times when he doesn't cross my mind, when i'm not reminded of him, when i just stand and listen to the world, the same way he used to stand and listen as he calmly smoked his cigarette and gazed out at things, be it the street or the beach or the backyard, be it his young and lanky son shooting baskets in the dusk, he was in no rush to do anything other than just be, i didn't know it then but know it now, understand the whole process, the beauty of not worrying about the rushing world but to stand still and contemplate or just enjoy what was put in front of you. My father was a radical humanist, he was a meticulous thinker, he pondered slowly and carefully and cared about the well being of humankind. I still miss being able to bounce ideas and things i've read off him, he was a brilliant guy, his intellect much larger than his wild-eyed boy's, we thought alike but in a much different manner. He enjoyed my fast and loose way of thinking, the creativity, the quick and biting wit that sometimes creeps into my speech.
Whether time crawls or flies doesn't really matter, it just is. As i've sat and contemplated the universe, be it tripping on my couch, stoned and staring at the stars, sober in the middle of the night as the cats wander about and wonder what the silly human is doing awake at this hour, the only thing i truly understand is that there is not much i truly understand. When one tries to wrap their head around the billions of lives come and gone ala Mozza and his Cemetry Gates it can make the head hurt, when one realizes that the history books are filled with tyrants, with wars, with the foibles of a species that sometimes seems dead set on it's own destruction you realize it's the history of the common man/woman, the ones who attempted to live a contemplative and peaceful and empathetic life that should be saved and celebrated. This little tool i sit at now has given us all the opportunity to do that no matter what the taste-makers and naysayers piss and moan about. It's the reason i do it, to document the life of a simple man and the ones he loved, ones like my father, himself a simple man who spent his time reading and thinking and loving and not worrying about much else. It's the oral tradition typed out and spit into the ether, it's for the boyos or anyone else who cares to read it, it's for my old man wherever and whatever he may be these days. The void is out there. None of us will escape it so in the meantime I'll do my best to honor the memory of my father, cuz that's all i have, someday it will be all my boyos will have...
December 11, January 21, February 13, May 16. We all have them. When the memories of February 13th come flooding back it can be strange what slips through. Sometimes i wonder if it's real or imagined. Drinking green tea in hospital waiting room. Eating pretzels on a bench and watching traffic. My father's weak laugh as he joked and said, "this isn't good, i'm back way to early," knowing full well what it meant to be back from surgery early. Driving aimlessly back to his apartment exhausted and hungry. Watching basketball as i sat in the very spot he'd sit, slowly eating my cheeseburgers through a mist that kept clouding my eyes. The Longest Day. Sliding further away yet always so close.
(the original The Longest Day was posted 2/18/18)