Sunnier Monday

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Moment of Quiet with my Dad

 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.

Psalm 1:3

Dad will turn ninety in November. The briefest thing I could write of him is this: he reveals no signs of a Winter of Discontent. For as long as I have known him, I have perceived a rock of silence. A Korean War combat veteran, he returned to the farm in southeast Missouri with dreams of starting a family and moving to St. Louis in search of a more prosperous life. Tenant farming wasn’t getting that done. Quickly he achieved the rank of certified General Motors technician and spent his labor years working in large St. Louis and suburban auto dealerships as head mechanic, doing his work quickly, quietly and efficiently. As a family man, he was always there for us, and always quiet about it. Retiring before sixty, he has managed to do what pleases him, and has never shown outwardly the stress that often rocked the family around him.

This has been a frantic weekend for many. I have already logged more than seventeen hours of driving, much of it through long nights, to reach a remote location where my niece was just married. I would say that this wedding was calmer than most I have attended, including family occasions where everything swirled and nearly everyone imagined all the things that could go wrong. And this wedding was successful, but not without its jitters. Dad, of course, was never pulled beneath those waves (I know, men usually don’t have much of a stake in all the planning and execution; we usually are good only for toting things in and out of car trunks, across parking lots, and in and out of hotels). And then we sit.

All this to say–one of the many highlights of the weekend was this moment sitting with Dad as he quietly drank in the beauty of the fall colors emerging all around. Dad is of Cherokee descent, always stoic, but also keenly aware of natural beauty, and can spend hours in silence sitting in the midst of it. Twice we walked down to the river and bluffs, surveyed the surroundings, and said little. And that was sublime.

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Despite long highway hours, I have managed to get in a couple of small watercolors executed en plein air. I have found quiet time for reading, and have been given some quiet nights for quality sleep. I suppose I am rested enough to take the long road back home. I have college classes waiting, and a big art festival coming up next weekend. It’s time to get back to work, but wow, how nice to have some quiet weekend moments with a quiet dad.

Thanks for reading.

I make art in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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