Sept 21 – My Dad, born 1907, would be 111 today

Friday, September 21

After chilly rain yesterday, today’s morning sun tells news of autumn on its way,  my favorite season, and at the ending of this work week, three soul friends come visiting.  Merritt “Roe” Smith,  my longest kinsman of the academy comes from MIT along with Dave Lucsco whom Roe recommended and I hired as the second and final managing editor of Technology and Culture.  Now he works at Auburn.  Our work connected us over years of passion for scholarly excellence and ripened into deep resilient shared memories.  Later today, after Roe and Dave have each headed home,  Mary Tobacco, whom I’ve known longer than either, known and loved as I did her mother Curley before she died of cancer late in the last century, took matters in her own hands for some face time this summer.  My surgery kept me from time on Pine Ridge this year.  She will spend the weekend as a guest in our house.

How to take in such depth of beauty resilient over decades of shared commitments —  joy and grief, fatigue and energy and gratitude for deep beauty?  Poetry helps.  Today, I am inviting David Whyte to talk with the four of us along with the 2400 other readers of the “Work Day/hard time” list.   Best to read “The Journey” out loud, with pauses.   Have a blest weekend, maybe pausing to taste the approach of Autumn.

john st sj


Today’s Post  –  David Whyte “The Journey”

Above the mountains

the geese turn into
the light again

Painting their
black silhouettes
on an open sky.

Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

first, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving.
Even as the light fades quickly now,
you are arriving.

from House of Belonging by David Whyte

p.s. When we buried my Dad in 1980, I had never known grief so raw.   Dad’s death came 3 weeks after his birthday just after he had gone jaundiced from the cancer that took him on October 12.  I held him most of his last night, we told each other important truths that lived between us. Today, his beauty and the grace he awakened in me back then keep my company.

We used a passage of scripture for his funeral:
“Love tenderly,
Act justly,
And walk humbly before your God.”

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