Many of our fathers went to war believing to do so would keep us, their children, home in peace. Their dream was not a new one nor was the lie we made it. Very young, in yards and fields we grappled, clawed, punched, learned to curse. It was something in our blood. Many of us are now fathers.
Stubble grass, early Winter, sunset silvers bloody sky. I sit in a field with my son who is almost five months old. He still possesses Heaven’s glow in eyes, skin, thoughtless hand reaching for the ears of the dog beside us. I wish for him a world that won’t exist, not quite the world my father dreamed but close. All I can do is try to teach him strength; soul, body, gentle strength. How can I do any more? Even today I who marched nearly eight years ago to end the Asian war, even today I felt the urge to strangle a man with whom I argued politics. How can I teach him at all? That, that urge to force one’s self is what makes trouble. I have made my share of trouble in this world.
Well, what’s regret but a waste? And what are we but beasts? Ten thousand biblical prophets a million prune faced or handsome professors, a million more soldiers, a cavalcade of demons can do no more damage to man or woman than regret with its stifling claws. It holds you to the past, and the past is dead. It’s the present that puts us, so to speak, against the wall.
Stubble grass, early Winter, darkness, darkness circles man and boy. So many angles, so many chances, so much beyond us has brought us to this point. And where does this point take us? Eventually all will be quiet and restful. Christ and our dreams promise this much.
The dog has gone ahead. She will meet us on the way. I pick the boy up. He rides my shoulders clutching my hair as the two of us head home through stubble grass, through woods alive with animal and spirit sounds. Though it’s dark, so much light shines ahead, around, behind us, too much light to be wasted. Everything’s forgiven.