He was here — beard and funky hat and laptop, and wearing one of his Agitshop t-shirts. The surprising thing was the little splotch of silvery gray hair right where his widow’s peak is and the flecks of other such strands throughout as well. Some things have changed a lot in the six or so years since I last saw him outside his old Millennium Cafe. But most things haven’t changed. He’s still the b!X we know and love.
It was Thanksgiving and Christmas and their birthdays all rolled into one — food and family-filled, noisy, and much too short.
And so, still half-asleep, we waited together for the morning train that took him to New York City, where he’s staying at the Algonquin Hotel — a combined birthday/Christmas gift to our much-loved writer/son — so that he can catch up with some old-time blogger buddies before he catches his plane for the other end of the country.
I don’t want him to go, hug him tightly, kiss his bearded cheek, this man who’s my only son and who’s leaving. Again. I think back to the Kahil Gibran piece On Children I sent my mother my freshman year in college.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams………
He’ll be back at his home, 3,000 miles away, before Thanksgiving. Who knows when we’ll have a chance to see him again. We might all be very very silvery gray by then.
I stand by the train station window and watch him disappear, remembering the first time:
Young Dionysus, a faded blue bandana
circling his head like a halo,
layers himself with choices
forgotton by the gods.
He smells of earth, of dreams,
of rain that flows with ease
along acres of hilly woodland,
filling some final need
in the deep hollows of stones.
He releases himself to the magic of motley,
to the wind, alive in his unbound hair,
to sweet pickings, scattered
like ripening berries
along miles of roadside vines.
As he leaves, the hearthfire
Blackbirds loose feathers
from the heights of sky-borne oaks,
and honey bees sing to the sun.
(copyright Elaine Frankonis 1987)