Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dog Story

I think that the experiences I have here are not special, but because of the situation, environment and the way I feel, things seem more poignant...
Yesterday, I was loading or unloading (can’t remember which, and perhaps I was doing both things simultaneously) our vehicle.  The day consisted of the same evening haze of heat, and the horizon and sky merged into one as a type of pearlesence (like on the inside of an oyster shell). The blending of sky and sand is not distinct but fuzzy, like a vast smear because of the dust in the air.
Suddenly, I felt something, like a presence... (It is that feeling you get when you feel you are being stared at.) I felt it below my line of vision, and instantly I thought of a serpent at my feet and how I would drop my load of supplies onto it and step back.) Of course all this thought happens in a flash...
I looked down fearfully, pretending to be bold...At my knees was a small and emaciated creature. Dirty grey-white... It was like a small greyhound. It had a lean and noble head, clear gaze, with ribs and spine showing through its short grizzled coat. It was not aggressive, but merely stood there looking into the vehicle like it wanted to go for a ride...In the past I have trapped such animals on other bases and assisted in killing them. Of course, that was not something that could be done now...Yet, what could I offer it? I could I help it?
I found one of those single serving cereal containers and offered it. She wasn't first...But eventually she came around to gobbling up the little dense rings of "O" shaped wheat and corn...Yet, I had no water for it...I offered only my voice for comfort, and that has never helped anyone...I think I sought to comfort myself more by speaking to it gently and quietly. As if I was addressing myself...As if it was my soul there in that animal, emaciated; padding around the desert desperately looking for water or food.
By our accidental presence at a certain time and place, perhaps we happen to be at the right place and time to help someone. But only if we look to do so...
I heard that if a man needs help, it will come to him....Perhaps...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Poem for Today...

Child and Father

Being a boy once - my father took me to a park,
It is years ago now,
So, I don't even remember how much is true,
Or which part is just fond wishing of a memory I want.

It was a weekday afternoon, and must have been summer.
Tunnels of ancient live oaks resist the sun at the playground.

I tried the cracked wooden planks of swings,
Red flakes of paint, sharp on the dry white wood,
Creaking roundabouts and shiny dented tongues of slides,
Claimed my limbs.

He would join my games,
This father person who I knew only a little,
Perhaps mainly by obligation.

But he would only try things briefly,
Initially joyful, his face would always fade,
Like water emptying from a hole in his heart.

I see him now, sitting large on a child's bench,
Looking off into distance. Quiet.

It's so long ago now,
It took me all this time to realize...
That he was with me because he had no work.
His time with his son,
For him,  it was confirmation of his responsibilities,
And that he was not meeting them.

With my chubby hands I remember holding his palms,
Trying to cheer him,
Not knowing of the adult ways to come,
Thinking that if we laughed more, or I tried harder,
Maybe he would be happy too.

It is only now that I really feel his pain.
It comes from understanding.

A little piece of my parent's struggle becomes clearer to me,
As I try to hang on.

July 2010 and June 2011