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June 15, 2003
Dad was my UmbrellaIt rains and it rains and it rains and it rains.
They claim that May was actually below average in rainfall, but the precipitation certainly was well distributed. Invariably on the weekends. Now itís mid-June and itís still raining, pouring even, day after day of it. My last best hopes for some end-of-migration birding got pretty well washed out, not to mention an outdoor concert that would have been a good time for the DMTree crew. We were lucky to work in one party with our esteemed New Orleans correspondent, whose recent visit found New York damper than the delta.
Yes, itís been a strange Spring.
Not least because the whole trajectory of my life has been upset. The cycle of the seasons remains a reference point, but my future has been rendered uncertain. I know what Summer and Fall will mean in the Park, but what change will the shifting seasons bring to me?
It is in just such moments of oblique prospect that I wish most fervently that I could talk once more to my Father. This is the third Fathersí Day since he died, and the pain of it is mostly gone, all but that pain which I suppose will always remain. I think of him more fondly now, and more longingly. I rehearse conversations we might have had, now held only in my head. Itís not that he would have had any means to help me with my job loss, but he was always a source of hope and optimism in a tight spot. I tend towards melancholia, but he seemed ever cheerful, no matter the circumstances. No doubt there were moods hidden from a child, and perhaps my memory is selective, but I saw him go through a lot of ups and downs, even after Iíd moved on to my own adulthood. His life was never really easy; what comfort he enjoyed was hard-won, and always a little precarious. Even so, he seemed content, on a level I could never quite understand.
It was by the example of his temperament, as much as any words, that he was always a comfort to me. I know he would have made me feel secure in the face of my current uncertainties. In fact, he does so even now. Through him, and a few friends of similar persuasion, Iíve become at least a little bit less fraught, learning that difficulties must not preclude happiness, the more so when times are truly tough. If the sword falls, well then, it falls. We should do what we can to avoid it, but from moment to moment Life must be lived. It might as well be enjoyed. Whatever efforts we make, things have a way of working out differently than we thought. And often better than we fear. So I will not hesitate to walk in the rain, though I will shield myself at need. And I will assume, regardless of the forecast, that the Sun may break through any time now.
Dad would be proud, though occasionaly wet.