Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Swansongs and Renaissance Boys

I've started it a hundred times probably.  "It is with great regret..." or "In the interest of my personal sanity I feel I must close..." or "Sometimes, it seems, all the stories have been told..." or even "It has come to my attention that I actually suck at this and to escape further embarrassment..." and "Swansongs are easy, comedy is hard..."

I planned on citing busyness and time, my lack of business acumen and digital savvy, the limits and questionable permanence of this medium as reasons to not continue.  I worked up some great justifications - based solely on fear, it occurs to me - about risk and protecting the boys from the big mean world.  A fear of actual success falls in here somewhere as a reason to not go on.

I put a lot of emotional and intellectual effort in this little corner of the universe, and that can be, actually, physically taxing.  I am worn out.  I feel as though a great party is coming to an end, an epic party, but, alas, all my old and new friends must leave, called away to their place; I feel the music slowly fading out, although it was so loud; the booze, though it was strong and free-pouring, has finally run out; I feel the early throes of dawn and I sense I must move on.

I've said to myself that I have learned the lessons I needed to learn here.  I've learned to watch and savor what the boys do.  I learned to watch them, their faces, their hearts, their souls, as they consider this life which they must learn to live.  I've learned to see things differently, I really have.  I've learned to think about love more deeply or, more accurately, I have come to understand the bottomless depth of love and the soaring heights of hope.  All because of two little boys and the call I had to tell you about them.

I entered into this month with a sense of wildness.  I felt the winds of change, and feared them.  Wildness scares me - my own, that is - and I was afraid of what I might find myself doing.  At the beginning of the month, I had decided that I must be done here.  There were a few things I needed to get done, some final stories to leave you with, a laugh or two, and, a heartfelt goodbye and an even deeper thank-you.  It seemed so wild and freeing to let this go out into the winds of time and hope for its best.

 But, you know what?

I am really not too busy, in fact my life meanders pretty slowly and freely; I've got the time.

I've never been afraid of effort, taxing or otherwise and, as Robert Earle Keen says, "The road goes on forever and the party never ends."

Only a fool would think he's has learned all a boy could teach him and I do not suffer fools.

There are always more stories to tell, and the wilderness is a helluva a good place to tell them from.

It's funny, one evening, one event, really coalesced my thoughts and focused in me a new resolve, a renewed vision, a different destiny.  Do you mind if I tell you about it?

(It's funny, after all this time, all these posts, all these words: I still can't figure how to start a story. Jeeze, I do still have a lot to learn.)

After dinner one night Zack wanted to show Marci how to make the paper owls they learned to make in school that week.  He began and, of course, Nick got started on one as well.  It, well, snowballed.

They were so proud to show their new found knowledge of owls.  Dioramas were necessary, obviously, to showcase their owls and serious crafting skills:

Somewhere in all this, in one moment, as we - Marci and I - were savoring the uncanny absurdity of it all I realized I must go on here.  For one thing, what other forum would I capture these moments in?  A scrapbook - mine are forgotten in a chest, lost to the deterioration of time.  Photo albums?  Again forgotten?  My own memories?  Inaccurate at best.  So, although so very flawed, this space on the Internet is where I choose to leave these love notes and pictures and, in all honesty, a big piece of my heart.

The final owl presentations were recorded, here they are:

Sometimes I like to think about all the different things the boys like to do - the crafting, the cutting, the coloring and pasting; the sporty things, the ball throwing, the made-up-backyard-games, bike-riding, stone throwing, hiking; the singing and recorder-playing the music appreciation the love of beauty, all that and so much more.  They notice a beautiful sunset, watch the setting moon, look at a cat or a dog with deep adoration.  They laugh so wholly and cry so fully.  They shape hope into dreams, they battle foes with sticks and imagination.  They play computer and video games and when told to stop pick up a book or a pencil and take their minds to another place.

They are Renaissance Boys... and I am so very proud of them.

Why would I ever stop showing them that?

I heard Nick say this as I passed their bedroom door, I don't know the context and... I don't care:

"...and we could hang them like kites from the ceiling and everyone would know they were dreams..."

I hope someday I can say something as beautiful as that...

As always, thanks for coming by.  I am going to continue on here at IHIWAT and, honestly, that surprises me.  My life always seems to surprise me and, well, that's pretty cool.


  1. I have kept most of my daughter's imaginative creations from this age and others. Her years of crafting are slowing, as she matures into more "adult" things. But, I am glad I kept the things of her youth, so I can pull them out and hold them and bring back that spectacular youth once again, and hold her again as a child, for a moment. keep these things in a special place so that you have them to look back on, once they too have reached the age of more "adult" things. Deirdre

  2. Your kids are so awesome. And it's so perfect and important that you're recoding these stories. Though you say "I hope someday I can say something as beautiful as that..." more than likely, you did when you wore shoes similar to Nick's. But there was no recording device close by when you spoke that kind of unfiltered expression of beautiful life. From my perspective, you're achieving it now; you've recaptured it, and for that, I'm plenty thankful.

  3. You have a certain style to your writing that I really enjoy. It's sentimental, thoughtful and humble.
    Glad you are going to continue to 'party.'

  4. I love the way that you share your kids' creativity and imagination here, this was a great post to read.


  5. Bill, I think what you've captured here is the essence of why it's so important that we encourage our kids to be kids while they can. Activities are great, but I believe that if you don't learn how to pretend when you're little, you'll have a heck of a time learning it as an adult--and that seems a real tragedy, to me. From your writing, I suspect you feel the same.

    Welcome back, Bill; many happy returns!


  6. I love the Renaissance Boys description. I have often described myself and my sons that way. I also wonder in a market that wants specialization and focus if there is still room for us.