The studio desk is never really clean, but it is organized in a certain sort of way. Yes, this looks like chaos, but it is deceiving. Really, it’s just in a language that most people don’t understand. Visual cacophony. An orchestra of materials. I’m a little bit afraid of the hyper-organized artist desk… but, some need that like I seem to need this.
Loveless Cafe’s country ham breakfast is good, but I don’t recommend eating it very often. I made my way through it this morning in honor of my dad, who thoroughly enjoyed it (and, had two heart attacks by 50). There was no felt sadness on this anniversary of his death, and that causes extra thoughts about how I have processed that event. My brother asked me tonight if I thought I had processed it, and claimed he was 95% sure that he hadn’t. It’s a truly strange thing, losing a father that young (dealing with a traumatic death of anyone at that age) makes for tricky thinking. It’s fascinating, really, and it is a substantial part of my story… But, the surface impact lessens over the years.
Thirty-one years ago today was the last time that I saw my dad… and, today is Father’s Day. He died on the 17th. The evening of the 16th, we went to see him in the hospital, where he had made a “full recovery” from a mild heart attack. As we walked out of his hospital room, he was sitting up in his bed, and the last thing I remember him saying was, “I can’t wait to get to the beach.” We were going to Litchfield, South Carolina several weeks later. The next morning, on the way home, he died of a massive heart attack. So, this Father’s Day gets especially colored by this story. I’m not really even sure what emotions are current with this part of my experience. There have been thirty Father’s Days without him, and each has a weight of its own.
The above photo was texted out to the rest of my family from one of my brothers. My father’s gaze and his energy are forceful, and it’s intense to look back at him. He was feeble as a long term functioning alcoholic, but his power was undeniable… a complex and damaged man. I have continued to come to a more comprehensive understanding of it all, but it still perplexes my emotional body in ways that I can hardly address. I could simply be at peace with every last bit of it, and no intense feeling is required. I love him, and I know that he loves me… regardless of death’s attempt to separate us. He is present in my life now, possibly more than he ever was. The Universe is capable of magic that we don’t access without the secret code, and dealing with death unlocks that code.
Anyways, tomorrow morning, I’ll drive out to Lovelace Cafe to eat the country ham breakfast in my dad’s honor. Afterwards, I will visit his grave and share a moment. My daughters are the beneficiaries of the years of work I have done to clear some of the negative Carder cycles… and, thus, I too benefit. We don’t really get to choose our story, but we get to decide how it is presented.
My youngest turned twelve today. Since her third birthday, she has requested the birthday dinner be at her favorite sushi restaurant, and we have obliged. On her third birthday, I was just over a month into a photo project http://us365portraits.blogspot.com/2010/06/ where I took one portrait of someone different every day for a year.
It could seem like a lifetime ago to think of her as three, or that project being part of my daily life. Today, I had a flashback to one of the last houses that I painted, and it seemed forever ago. It was my common-law-brother-in-law’s house, and I was there today, swimming. I spoke to him six years ago about starting a business around my family’s restaurant’s spaghetti sauce…
Strange how the days unfold, folding time upon itself, bending forward and backward simultaneously. It is all beautiful.
Yoga practice. Studio practice. Meditation practice.
It helps that the word practice is used in these. It softens the edges for these seriously hard tasks. I returned this morning to my meditation practice, after a couple of weeks away, where summer break had besieged my household. Through yoga, the art studio, and meditation, I have surrendered a particular level of judgement. I have peace with myself now, larger acceptance and understanding, and that ripples out into my experience with others. Certainly, my judgements can spew fast and hard, but the recovery is much swifter now than before. I am practicing.
“We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”
Monday night brought me deep into a Breaking Bad sort of scene, and it was memorable. There was no dark violence or illegal activity (well, mostly not). The research for my business venture continues, and as I soak up all the not so glamorous information and experience, I grow more fond of the idea. As my meditation practice has driven home as a lesson, I am embracing all aspects of each moment, leaving nothing “disappointing.” Gently down the stream, I go, merrily.
There is a small tree farm right off the interstate going north between Nashville and Huntington. When we pass it, we dream. My wife first voiced the idea, and I was naturally on board. Some time, after the kids make their way to college, we may be found in western North Carolina, running a small tree farm. We definitely have a lot of research to do, but, in theory, it seems like a lovely way to “semi-retire.” Anything could happen between now and the realization of that dream, but we will keep it on the dream agenda.
Rafael Nadal has 93 wins and 2 losses at the French Open. That is one effed up record of dominance. His mastery of the game on the clay courts of Roland Garros is beautiful, an anomaly for study. How does he succeed that often with so few missteps? I appreciate that sort of excellence in all sorts of categories, and it was enjoyable to stop this morning to watch him win his twelfth French Open (I haven’t watched much tennis in recent years). He operates like a machine on the court, going through the exact same steps before each and every serve. He’s got plenty of other (OCD) routines that dictate his time on the court, and it seems to be working out for him fairly well. I’m not sure that it will carry over with success into relationships and parenting, but, who knows, maybe he’s aced that as well.