Sunday, March 28, 2010
365 Photo Project - Day 86
Location: Healdsburg, Ca
The bedroom window on my side of the bed faces in a generally westerly direction and in recent weeks, when the night is clear and it's visible, the moon has been keeping me company when I wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's so bright, the whole room is bathed in the glow.
I don't know anyone who doesn't feel comforted and awed by the sight of the moon and everything it means, literally and literarily.
My father, who is still alive and relatively well, and fast-approaching his 84th year on earth, has given me a lot of things, among them my love of baseball, of beer, of bridges and photography. He was the first person to get me to look up at the heavens, to find constellations and name them and stars and follow them, and ask big questions neither he nor anyone has the answers to. My folks might argue but I've always felt I got my dreamer's heart from my Mom (still with us too at 76), the gift of learning not just to color outside of lines but to forget the lines entirely or draw up new ones. My Dad is a gifted artist but I'll always feel it's my Mom who made me a writer (by first encouraging me to be a reader) and it's she I think of calling when I write something that makes me happy.
My Dad gave me the anchor of critical thinking, the ability to rationalize my day-dreaming with the solidness of the world, the concreteness of things that may or may not be hard to comprehend. He used to tell me in difficult times to not use my imagination but to focus on what's there in front of you, what you know, what's happening, not what you don't know or what might happen. I can't tell you how often his philosophy has saved me from panic, has eased the fear in my heart and made it easier to figure out a sticky situation. My Mom may have ignited my fires but my Dad gave me a way to control them.
And even as he revealed the world of lines and angles, showed me where to find the beauty in the manmade world, the ironwork of a truss bridge, the scale of a building, through a lens or a telescope, he never denied its magic. My parents were great teachers who taught us to understand the world as huge and dangerous and yet miraculous place. They taught us not to fear it but to respect it, a distinction I'm afraid is lost on too many people. Growing up I knew bad stuff happened, I knew that there was no way we could be insulated from tragedy or death or loss, but I also understood that being afraid was healthy in small doses only. The void, the world -- life -- was out there for the taking but you had to take a leap of faith, you had to jump in and do your thing. And you had to believe in yourself.
Believe me, if you had parents like mine, that part was easy.
The truth is I know there are two disparate yet symbiotic sides to me, neither of which would have been as well developed or made me as (gulp) interesting, if it hadn't been for my parents. To this day, we talk several times a week and I try not to think of that day sometime (hopefully) way in the future when I won't be able to do that anymore
I remember when I was writing my first novel and struggling to find my voice. One night I woke up in from a deep sleep with a picture of the first few paragraphs in my head. I immediately rewrote the first chapter. In the morning, the first person I called was my Mom and it was she who confirmed I was onto something (those pages were published pretty much still how I wrote them that night).
I can't watch a baseball game without thinking of the nights my Dad would let me stay up late and watch Mets games with him. My years of being a sportswriter soured me on professional sports for a long time but the older my Dad and I get, the more I'm drawn back to baseball. Money, 'roids, arrogance, it's changing the sport forever, but inside the lines, the game itself, they'll never be able to take that away from us, my Dad and me.
In a way, I think my parents are a little like the moon. Always there, even when they aren't, pulling and pushing the tides of my soul, leading me home.
I shot this on my K100D with a 300mm prime manual Pentax lens that's at least 15 years old. I used a tripod and a 2 second delay, and a 1/15 exposure time. Thanks again to my friend Glenn Camhi for help editing. By the way, have you seen his sweet short film yet?