Over Father's Day weekend, I had planned to post articles for my Father and Grandfather, but fell behind due to poor health. Of the two, I was worried that Dad would be hoping for a shout out, since I know he reads my work most often. I was surprised on Sunday morning, when my Grandfather opened his Father's Day card and asked if he might be getting a blogspot mention like I did for Granny on Mother's Day. While I had thought about what I might say in an article about my Grampy many times, I had managed to psych myself out, and put it off for fear of unjustly representing him till it was too late - I got sick and I let him down. I am saddened that I didn't get over my fear of failing and honor him the way I should have, the way my heart meant to.
Now, here it is... the Tuesday after Father's Day and this moment at the kitchen table with the Father's Day cards and his slightly disapointed look hasn't faded a bit. Instead, the wise advice that he gave me has festered. You see, when I told Grampy that I hadn't finished the posts I'd meant to write him, he didn't ask why, and I didn't offer excuses. Still, he seemed to know, and he talked for a moment about how I didn't have to put pressure on myself and my writing, he urged me to choose brevity over elaborate ordeals as he described his own troubles with beating words into their correct place on a page.
Those words festered deep. Long have I known that while I may be gifted with an occasional turn of phrase, I certainly do not fall easily into brevity or simplicity. At first, this desire to heed to Grampy and write something short, simple and sweet for him seemed impossible. How can I do justice to someone like him, briefly? How do you do justice to anyone without pouring out their life story like a jigsaw puzzle box? Isn't every piece necessary to understand the whole puzzle? These questions pestered me for days until...
My father took this picture of Grampy's horse, Sis, while we visted this weekend. He emailed it to me yesterday, and I opened it in the cool of the evening last night.
Suddenly, I realized that I had found the single puzzle piece of brevity that might characterize my grandfather for us (just a little late) this Father's Day:
In my youth this lane wasn't so shady. The trees were small - they couldn't reach each other or canopy yet. It's humbling to see
that shade. My grandfather made sure that lane was there, providing safe passage and harbor for the family home- I don't even know when.
lucky, my sons and theirs will walk ponies down shady lanes like this. They'll sort lambs
from the cedars. They'll watch white cotton fall from the wood above and catch
shelter from the bitter windy snows of January. They'll bask in the shadows of love and foresight and plant fine trees of consequence and stretching shadows.
They say that true wisdom is a
man who plants trees in whose shade he knows he may not sit. The fact
is, we all plant trees, and they'll all cast a shadow. This shady lane challenges me just as my Grandfather does with his very existence: What shadow will your actions cast? In what shade will your grandchildren
walk? I can only hope that, my grandsons and daughters will have the fine privilege that I have had, and that they'll walk in the holy wisdom of
hugging cottonwood branches. Happy Father's Day Grampy - I am so sorry I am late.