Sunday, August 16, 2009
Early this morning, while working on my Author’s Press Series, I realized it had been a long time since I’ve shared anything from One Hand Clapping, my “daily journal in two volumes.” Here is my entry for this day in 2004:
The absence of departed family members is acutely felt on summer Sunday evenings, when food is on the table and talk is at its loudest, and outside the dusky shadows begin to fall. They are gone, gone, gone, and we are here, here, here. As our plates fill with the blood of fresh tomatoes, onions, and watermelons, laughter is both a sacred calling and a lunatic’s lament. We have a wonderful time, for anything less would be a disgrace. We are grateful for our memories, but we are also angry, because we share a feeling of outrage that springs from a history of family trials — massacres, emigration, poverty, fathers plucked from life early in their prime, long hours of physically exhausting work, children sent out to earn a living in the street, and success, a kind of trial all its own. We have won and we have lost, and in our losing we have gained, and in our winning we have been humbled. We are a gambling family, quite accustomed to betting it all. The stakes are high, the senses alert. Quite often, we do not know whether we have won or lost. But we feel like winners, even when we know we have lost. Summer Sunday evenings are like standing before a painting of our childhood, in which bolts of lightning pierce the canvas. They are a lonely shepherd watching his sheep from a high rock. The sound of his flute echoes the unspoken silence that informs and guides our conversation.
In the Forum: so much for the blueberries.