In the strange process of selecting a person
to symbolize the past, present or future,
there are two things to consider:
who has more?
And who is in each?
Wesley is in your past and mine,
but has more future than us both.
Your age is in his future and mine,
but you have more history than us both.
Are you Future or Past?
There is a symmetry to the question:
you are the base or the peak of the pyramid,
depending on the flip.
You are First of us three,
or you are Last.
You are the Still
before my Steady,
Among our Crawl, Walk, Run,
you are the Fast.
There is symmetry to the equation:
zero to thirty to sixty.
Three equidistant generations
of men, perhaps some meaning
in the math.
But whatever the Future,
whatever the Past,
I’m grateful in the Present
that you’re here,
in wisdom, conversation,
feeling and thought.
Two things that Anna encouraged in me as a kid and adult:
1. A love of photos.
From the time I met her as a kid, she had boxes of them. I would watch her do little photo shoots of sisters and other projects and she would always share the bounty after she got them developed. She had a natural and charming love for the sentimental which I can see had a huge impact on me.
2. A love of giggling.
She can’t get enough of silly things and she’s always been that way. She made me laugh and she made me funny. And if every 10 year old girl was granted an older female influence that made her feel that way… It would just be so much better.
These two loves are so dear to me, which gets at some part of why she is so dear to me.
Happy Birthday, Anna
This little girl turned six today. It was once the keen desire to have pictures of her little face that moved me to learn more about how to take a good photo. So, it’s quite magical whenever I take a photo that I love that she is in. I look at it and treasure the way a person can inspire so much without saying a word. You inspire me, Abigail, just by being you. You always will.
It's been one week since you held me for the first time. About 24 hours before you came, the hardest week of my life started. With little warning I was reduced to a human with only infinite need and nothing to give. My days pushed forward and dragged me with them, limbs uncoordinated and flailing, shedding weight and adding raw new experience every time my eyes opened. I could see no more than three feet in front of me. Those three feet held your gaze and said to my shaking spirit over and over, "shh, child," until at last I quieted. Now - and only now - we begin to slowly reverse the trend. Things that were broken apart are coming back together in a new way. Things like you and me. And I'm starting to hear you as you tell me, in so many ways, "Be patient with yourself, be patient with me."
So here's to one week since you first held me, Wesley. I'll never be able to pay you back, but you know I'll always be trying.
The ocean between us has me remembering the first time I was out of the country on your birthday, also the Caribbean. You sent me away with poetry.
But I’m more excited to see what the closing lines of your 20’s will be like. You’ve always been good at ending a poem that seemed to be saying so many things, with a line that conveys it was really only about one very important thing. Maybe 29 isn’t normally the most memorable year for people, but I know you. I know your philosophy on finales. I know that you would say the beginning is only good if the ending is tac-sharp, intended, and arresting. And it’s not because you’ve planned it. You’ll feel your way there. You’ll stumble on it as you’re walking on no discernible path and listening to the twigs and leaves crunch under your feet. And hopefully I’m getting better at being less terrified of that. This decade has proven that the best endings always seem to find their way into your poetry.
So here’s to the long walk that led you up to this year, and to the last stanza of your twenties that will find you in the year to come.
Happy Birthday from Belize, Evan