I ordered some new shoes for the boys today from L.L.Bean. I am frankly tired of the boys wearing out cheap shoes from Target and the like and I feel certain these will last, but, that's not what I'm talking about today.
I could have ordered the shoes online, and, I nearly did but I find it frustrating and time-consuming to order over the innerwebs. I know, I'm alone on that and, truth is, I often order guitar strings and parts and the like online. Again, beside the point.
I spoke with Penny and we had a wonderful conversation and she quickly ascertained that I had twins. Her twins were twenty-three. She asked the boys age and laughed when I said "eight-and-a-half (because the halfs still count)" and she remembered that that was a "wonderful age." We chatted a bit, I told her it's always nice to hear about grown-up twins, it's assuring sometimes. We finished the transaction and she had to move on to another call I'm sure. We said our goodbyes and thank-yous and just as I was about to end the call she said:
"Enjoy those twins, Mr. Peebles."
"Yes, yes I will," I managed, hiding an unexpected catch in my throat, that slight, little sob and dampening of the eyes I'd like to think we all get when confronted with the tender beauty that is Humanity.
We connected. She made a difference to me, deep me, not consumer me or selfish me, but me, essential, human me. I'd like to think I, somehow participating in a karmic feat of synchronicity, brought a moment of peace or beauty or remembrance or even grace to her soul as well.
Connectedness (which it turns out is a word) is another lesson that can't be taught. I can't tell you it will happen to you someday, boys. I can't give you a heads up when I see it coming, it'll just happen. A best friend, a teacher, a sad stranger on a train, a twin brother, a wife, a parent, a phone operator, a bus driver, a Kiwi writer, little boys with beautifully big eyes. Anyone, and, if you let it, it can happen everyday. Connectedness is timeless in construct, sweetly fleeting at times, deep and eternal at other times. I believe it is intrinsically a grace from God.
Maybe it is God...
I feel sorry for Nick and Zack sometimes, sorry for what I perceive as their lost opportunities for meaningful connections.
They'll never know the connection an adolescent boy can feel talking to a girl through an avocado phone, a kinked curly-cue cord, a rotary dial, four prongs in the wall, miles of humming copper wire, four more prongs, a princess phone, a girl's voice, her hand holding the handset, her lips so close; connection.
They'll never stand out in a cold wind with a good friend, in a beloved back alley or a pine enclosed mountain meadow, and share the last match to light the last cigarette, sharing the sulfur smell, nearly cheek-to-stubbled-cheek, rough, cupped hands mirroring each other against the purposed wind; connection.
They'll never hold a love or "Dear John" letter, taking in the handwriting on the envelope, the postmark; never hear the tearing open or take in the faint, perhaps imagined scent, the pause of anticipation, or know the physical blows or caresses of the blue ink and loopy letters or watch a tear roll down them, of joy or anger or sadness; connection.
They'll never know the quiet connection of a doctor's or hospital waiting room, before devices disconnected us, when you wondered and worried and hoped and prayed and wept and smiled together with a few others as they wondered and worried and hoped and prayed and wept and smiled; connection.
There are more nostalgic scenes I could paint for them, but I'll stop here. As I said before, I can't make their connections for them and, most likely, they will find connections in ways and places I could never myself imagine.
This is not meant to be a lament. I hope it can be a lesson, another lesson I can't can't teach, a lesson I know you will learn. It's sort of like that moment we have all had but no one talks about. You know. You've done it, I've done it, it's gonna happen. Listen boys, just try to be cool when you do walk through a screen door or into a sliding glass door. It's gonna happen. Own it.
Oh, uh, well... you're still here. No, you are right, that wasn't a very good ending, was it?
I can't really think of a good ending for this piece, and, knowing you are a forgiving lot, I should just end it here...
I won't, though.
This photo is one that rotates through my screen-saver thingee. Whenever I see it, I can imagine that hug repeated through a lifetime's worth of joy and sadness, love and anger, repeated over and over, always in stripey shirts.
No, that wasn't very good either.
How about these snow-covered twin Maple trees in our backyard? At times I feel so moved by these dear trees, three times my age, watching me, watching over us, that I feel they have a collective soul which reaches out for mine.
Well that's just new-agey and weird, Bill.
I know, two arbitrary, abstract expressionist string paintings from second grade presented upside down:
From Marci's "... things you don't expect to hear from the backseat ..."
(ok, the kitchen table, but bear with)
"When the first bite falls apart, you know it is a good taco."
Truth, righteous little dude, truth...
Thank you for coming around and sitting a spell, I feel like we connected.