The Father of Silence
As a father, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that silence appears in its truest form when shared. Each day, somewhere between one and two o'clock my six month old goes down for a nap that lasts anywhere between one and two hours. This is precious time to the new parent, or any parent for that matter, as the day is often filled with noises: rattles, music makers, children's videos, squeals of anger and those of delight.
There is an antique daybed I often retreat to during these nap times. I join my son in the lazy sleep of the afternoon, and the two of us share a common silence.
The black cat
Purrs softly in the window
When my son was born and he broke the crest between the womb of his mother and the womb of this world he brought with him a silence. I have no record of it, but at the moment he came into this world the doctor said nothing, and the nurses stood quietly by and watched.
It was my son who broke the silence. He made known to us the miracle we had witnessed with one soft wail that was his first breath, and then he and my wife joined each other in a quiet all their own as she held him to her chest and kissed him on the crown of his head.
From the womb of the moment –
A single tear
With the birth of my son came the death of my father. Not two weeks after my son was born, my father passed. Where my son issued forth from silence and made note of it, my father entered silence as quietly as night's last star retreats from the sunlight.
There came a point where he was no longer speaking. He'd wake up from what appeared to be deep sleep, look up at the family and friends gathered around him, and nod his head gently for a moment. He too was between two wombs, one of this world and one that belonged to the other.
This winter wind is enough
To freeze a tear
As I lay down on the daybed and my son in his swing in the living room, I glance at the picture on the end table of my father holding his newborn grandson. We are always straddling two worlds, being born from one womb to the next. And as I lie down and let sleep take me, I join them in that other world. I join them all.