>the rose and the rise


I lift photos from my father.
Even in our toddler years my siblings and I were accustomed to having a father in the background with a camera in hand. Over the years we grew fond of his candid shots. Turns out each of are good at pouting when we thought no one could see us.  We grew up and became parents to a new generation of closet-pouters. Somewhere in the mix of time Dad put his camera away.
What I don’t want to dwell on is the aging process and how we quit involving ourselves with a world which once beckoned us to come outside and play, to come outside and participate in what makes the world spin. I’d rather write about the way my parents are today — rising every morning to take long walks along the river or along some new pond they’ve discovered since they adopted a dog to take care of, and since my father got back into photography. How did that come to be?
One day the internet showed up in our parents’ home. My siblings and I started emailing photos to our parents. Grasshopperish photos sent to the master. Dad would write back to ask what sort of camera did we use, what F stop. We had (have) so much to learn. We kept sending photos.
Came the day he roused himself, bought a digital camera and started emailing photos back. At first they were often taken from his living room chair, at 4 A. M. Sometimes the subject line would read: photo of the morning light on the living room wall. Sometimes the subject line would be: sunrise through the etched rose window.
In any given day (with each day given to us), I hear from writers and artists who fear they’ve started writing and painting too late in life. I open my email and find a new photo from my father. We are celebrating his 80th birthday soon. My mother still runs circles around her children, such is her energy.
I think about poets like Gerald Stern and Marie Ponsot who started writing around the time of life my father started sending us photos of the light playing on his living room wall. Like Stern and Ponsot, came the day he opened his front door, stepped outside for a walk. A long walk with his camera.

About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

9 responses to “>the rose and the rise

  1. >Possibly at a certain time in our lives we realize that 'light on living room walls' is extremely beautiful and important. Tom Waits sings about such things in one of his songs…"I never saw the morning until I stayed up all nightI never saw the sunshine until you turned out the lightI never saw my hometown until I stayed away too longI never heard the melody until I needed a song"Your dad is lucky to be reawakened. Some people just keep sleeping through the twilight.

  2. >SherrySome days ago, your blog was entitled tmanes..then we went away. My comment was,when we leave special places, a piece of our soul stays behind, I know a small piece of my soul is standing in front of the rock wall waiting for bus 16

  3. >"Sunrise through the etched rose window."Yeah.

  4. >hey kerry,yes, realizing that the light on the living room wall is an important time in our lives is way wise. really like that last line about the melody. hey shel,well now! so cool to see you here. to find that particular post…when you first get to my blog and scroll down down down…you will see "older posts" and if you click that eventually you will find the bus 16 post. yeah, we both left a piece of our souls by that rock wall. mary actually has a piece of it (the wall, not our souls). i think of you in yellow everytime becaue of that period of our lives. remember the triple bunks?

  5. >My feeling is, if we were ready to start sooner, we would have, but that's me. Daily I come to know the difference between writing, begun early, done as dabbling, then a profession, and what I committed to about 10 months ago, at 64. I am thinking a post about a 25-year plan, borrowed from Wes Anderson's BOTTLE ROCKET and I laugh. Who is to say it couldn't happen? You and your father help me believe that paying attention is genetic.

  6. >john- yikes i missed you. i second that yeah.marylinn – i was never one to adapt when i was supposed to adapt. sometimes life was more painful because of that, but i keep it in my head that when the time is right i will be ready. we stay tuned, i think.

  7. >Hi Sherry, Your post is a good reminder for me. I just had a birthday, and I didn't think it was bothering me, but…

  8. >oh hey annie, happy late birthday. if we are good at the time of our b-days about not thinking about what we are not thinking about…it eventually comes back around at us, to consider. i often hear people say "that makes me feel old", and i realize some things make me realize how long i've lived, but mostly i still feel the possibilities waiting for us. i hope that you do, too.

  9. >Hi Sherry, Yep, I do. I wrote a whole post before my birthday, on how I revel in life, and I do.

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