God how my daughter used to dance to this song when she was a toddler. There’s just something so infectiously happy and accomplished about his playing & singing in this track –the audible little laugh he gives in the last verse, the charming expressions on his face as he sings– it really struck a chord with Addie.
Now I’m old and feeble, grand children by the score,
Every night they set upon my knee,
That’s when I scoot ’em over just to make a little room,
Cause the banjo am the instrument for me.
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)
Independence Lake 2013, a set on Flickr.
Got snowed out of North Lake by at least a month. Guys with gaiters and poles were coming back down daunted. We however were undaunted by the inattainability of our ultimate goal. Giant ice-slides were slid, smoke-dried clothing was worn to bed, dogs were chased (and chastised). Everyone came home tired; happy.
It’s funny to me how much Rufus loves the kids: how he leaps to honor their calls. Addie threw the tennis ball for him yesterday until I thought his little heart would burst. Even the soles of his little feet were hot!
All early worries about his spirit were entirely premature. The joy he takes in living his life couldn’t be more evident than on this sweet, happy, tired face.
Addie used to ride on my back for the swim across the little reef between our place and Grand Anse beach. It seems a million years ago and a million miles from a polar bear cub hitching a ride on the family’s best swimmer, but somehow also completely the same: