General Merc Fish Watching

Robin and I go to the Merc every week or so. I get a tiny coffee and we watch the fish. Robin’s either terrified or delighted by them. Today he was pretty laid back about the fish. I think it’s because he’s just turned one and is feeling much more mature than before.

Three Snake Leaves

Three Snake Leaves is a beautiful story of magic and death made famous by the Grimms. (They included it in the second edition of their famous book.) Most versions have extremely punishing endings for the princess. I changed the ending for my story because I hate those endings.

My version is linked here: Three Snake Leaves

Instead of a violent and deadly punishment I have the princess revive the soldier herself in the end. This mirrors his bringing her back to life earlier in the tale and completes the vow she required of him in the first place: That their love would last a lifetime.

Here’s a gorgeous graphic version of the story for the curious.

Now Magnet

They say having a baby changes your life. And it does.

They mention sleeping less, and the new kind of cosmic love. These things are true. But I noticed something else too. Something I wasn’t expecting. My baby pulls me into the moment. He’s a now magnet.

If I drift from the moment, he calls out and says, “remain.” But what I’m learning now is to shape the moment I’m in. It dawned on me a few days ago that when I have him in the afternoon we can go out together. This seems like a simple thing, but for a new Dad, it was a revelation.

So I get time alone with our boy then. When we first started this arrangement, I wasn’t quite used to being with him in that part of the day so we would go from the kitchen to the living room to his room to the basement (where there is a carpeted TV room) and then back again. I was hesitant to leave the house.

In time though I came to understand the cycle: Ilgaz leaves, and two hours later I take him to see her for 15 minutes or so so he can eat. Then home for a nap, after which he eats, then Ilgaz arrives home and he goes to bed.

What he always knew though, is that within that simple time structure there are infinite moments of now-awareness to be explored together. Infinite variety, it’s so beautiful. Maybe it’s because I’m a new parent I have gaga eyes for whatever he does. But I think it has something to do with being present. I notice a new way he’s moving, or a new look on his face. There was some joke I heard somewhere about a parent getting excited about a mundane thing his kid did, “did you see that? He pointed … and he meant it!” It’s a level of detail that takes a lot of awareness. And its beautiful.

So here’s to noticing and babies and moments. And now.

The Photo

The Messy Knot of Life

Something happens. That’s the story of growing up. Something happens and it gets more complicated. That is the story of growing up.

Oftentimes I think I’d be happiest if my life were simple. Shed the influences, the encumbrances, the responsibilities and then happiness has space to grow. There is a problem here though. To take these things away would leave me isolated, cut off and powerless. That doesn’t sound like a recipe for happiness.

There was some moment I thought through this problem and came to a conclusion I’ve stuck with for years now. (Maybe I read it or heard it or dreamt it, I don’t know, but it’s mine now.) The nature of life is to complicate in time.

Maybe complicate isn’t quite right. Life gets more complex, or my feelings are more complex over time. My thoughts are. Situations and relationships braid together, overlap and mash together into a Gordian knot that feels too heavy to untangle.

If only I could reach for Alexander’s blade, slice through it all and make life simple again. But this is a cheat, an unmaking that freezes the very process of life. Deeper down I want my life to become more complex over time.

I don’t need to slice through the knot because I am the knot. The best parts of life are in the little loops, the threads overlapping fuzz balls under tangled yarns. That’s where joy is possible. If the devil is in the details, the angel is too.

Its not easy though. And I’m not perfect, sometimes I’m not willing to grow. I know where I keep my detachment knife. It’s next to the ghosting, denial and willingness to ignore problems. But when I don’t face change, I regret it. Sometimes for years. There is some grace though in that my regrets get tied in with all the rest of it. And I can accept them, because life is complex and so am I.