Father & Son

He said “I live three miles from the ocean but I haven’t been to the shore in three years.” I say, “That sounds awful.” “It’s easy to forget the things of beauty that abound all around you.” I nod in agreement, furtively looking at my watch, eager to get home, hoping he won’t keep me much longer. “Look out of my window. Do you see that tree? It’s beautiful, isn’t it? Look how it stands, impervious to everything we throw at it— the city’s rot, the earth’s malefactions. Year after year it goes through its cycles, the constant rebirth, until it outlives us, gently mocking us with its silence.
“But I forget it. I forget it unless forced to consider it, as your presence has forced me to consider it. It’s a trapping, a mere accessory, a bit of color that doesn’t impact me in any way that’s significant, except on a day like this; and even a day like this—talking here, sipping coffee, getting along famously— will soon fade, be of no matter, ebb away into the wash of time. And that’s the way that beauty perishes: rarely through willful destruction, but through mere neglect.”
I left soon after, for the day pressed on me— many promises to keep, many more people to please. I, too, live near the ocean, and haven’t been to the shore; and I have a tree in my backyard, tall and glowering, insisting on its weight, mocking me by its age, by its permanence, refuting my claims to property, to earth, to life. The world conspires against you, not out of malice, but because, like God, it would say “I am what I am”.
Look at your watch; look, and watch the hands fly.

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