TAKING PICTURES OF YOU
"Taking pictures of you as the light came through. You were running away and I asked you for a place to stay. Do you remember me, taking pictures of you? Taking pictures of you."
- The Kooks - "Taking Pictures of You"
Last night I went in the backyard with my youngest son. I went back and forth on the swing set while he climbed this metallic geodesic monstrosity that sits among the weeds and deadfall. He looked beautiful among the ruins, both natural and manmade. I asked him if he was lonely and he said he was always lonely.
Maybe it's good that he doesn't seem to notice the quarantine. I don't know which is worse: the sharp stab of exile, or a loneliness that never ends. Does loneliness have amplitude the way grief, sadness, and anger do? Can it be worse in huge doses, or is it like holding a 5 lb weight straight out...only getting worse with time.
I think often of the classic Springsteen lyric, "Is a dream a lie if it don't come true? Or is it something worse?" I don't know what dreams both of my sons have, what they think of the future, or what they fear about the future. They are only 6 and 10, after-all, so maybe it's too early for any of that. Maybe their age is a comfort to them? What a blessing it must be to not know about the crazy times in which you live, to not feel the anxiety.
Or maybe they do know but just don't have the words to articulate their feelings. God, do any of us?
Do any of us?
I swing back and forth, and I watch my son climb the metal dome thing, and I lean back as far as I can and I look up through the rainbowed canopy of trees, the golden stream of sundown light painting everything in musty yellows and copper.
This is probably what I'll remember most about the quarantine, this moment, swinging and watching, listening as my youngest child navigates his lonely world, hopefully unaware of how much it's changing around him.
I hope this is what I remember most.