Today is my daughter’s 10th birthday. Though a stay-at-home father for my son, I was a working dad when Addie was young. I have well-thumbed memories of our family at this time, gathered around her like a tiny fire. A child enters a life that predates her existence but only in some ways survives it. The life Gary Snyder describes here reveals the sum of her experience as the bud from which her life will –indeed must– emerge (albeit hereunder in reference to his son).
Happy Birthday to my world-maker.
When Kai is born
I quit going out
Hang around the kitchen – make cornbread
Let nobody in.
Mail is flat.
Masa lies on her side, Kai sighs,
Non washes and sweeps
We sit and watch
Masa nurse, and drink green tea.
Navajo turquoise beads over the bed
A peacock tail feather at the head
A badger pelt from Nagano-ken
For a mattress; under the sheet;
A pot of yogurt setting
Under the blankets, at his feet.
And Non, our friend
In the garden light reflected in
Not leaving the house.
From dawn till late at night
making a new world of ourselves
around this life.
-Gary Snyder, Regarding Wave (1969)