Rock Island: The Awakening

Rock Island: The Awakening

We stood alone among the rocks and oyster shells, surrounded on all sides by water. Somewhere beyond the water lay the land and the noise of the daily grind, but here now the only sound was the gentle lapping of the slow rising tide against the side of our tandem kayak which was moored to a large piece of driftwood a few paces from where we stood. Beneath our feet was Rock Island, as we had become accustomed to calling it. Presently it was no more than 100 feet at its widest point, a small patch of algae covered rocks, shells, and mud peeking forth from the surface of a small creek, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. But soon, as part of the daily tidal dance, it would again sink back beneath the surface like a giant sea turtle returning to the depths after rising for a breath of air. Rock Island was just a short paddle from the house where I grew up and just a little further from the house where I presently lived with my wife and kids. I had stood on this very spot many times before, but not for several years. When I was a child the island used to be much wider, even containing green grass, but now it was diminished, devoid of greenery, and only surfaced at low tide. Weathered by time and climate change, at high tide the island was now a ghost, its presence below the surface only marked by the tattered solo white flag someone had staked to its center to warn passing boats. The island was not...
The Heavy

The Heavy

There’s an American here who has terminal pancreatic cancer. Terminal in the sense of being at work two weeks ago and gone from this earth tomorrow. I can’t get her out of my head. Thirty four. Kids ages six and four, just like mine. How do you say goodbye? There was a flurry of activity in the first days after she got the diagnosis. The vegan friend insisted she go vegan, the woman studying Ayervedic herbs had lots of advice about turmeric and coffee enemas. She is religious, so there’s that to consider. We started cooking, then stopped when she stopped eating. The best intentions of a community that isn’t. I’d never met her, but my husband was friendly with her at work. But it’s still too close for comfort. Close enough to make me think about what I would do, what I would want, if I was in her place. How do you say goodbye? There are three children in my son’s school who’s mother passed away from cancer last year. The oldest child pulled out all of her eyelashes and eyebrows after her mother died. They are just starting to grow back but her face has no light. The littlest one sits in the toddler room with her nanny, surrounded by boisterous mamas and children older than her enjoying a nurse and a cuddle. She sucks her thumb and stares off into space. I hug her but she shies away. How do you say goodbye? How do you say goodbye in a way that will ease their pain? That will allow them to live a life that...
Birthday Bike

Birthday Bike

She turned four yesterday and today she rode her birthday bike. No training wheels for her and no fear. A couple of wobbles and she was yelling “let go!” And I let go. I ran behind for as long as I could and she flew. She is fearless. It terrifies me. It fills me with awe and amazement and wonder. It is one of those moments that I hope to remember for the rest of my life. One of the moments that make all of the really hard moments completely and absolutely worth it. I struggle with the balance between protecting and letting go. Letting the fearlessness take her through a magical life but keeping her alive to see it. I struggle and because I am mindful of the struggle I hope that I am keeping the balance for her. The world will present all of its fears soon enough. For our children, coming of age in the time of climate change, terrorism, internet infinity with its overwhelming and endless negative and violent imagery, we must protect the fearlessness as long as we can. It is the secret to their future wellbeing and survival. It will give them hope when the world seems hopeless. It will allow them to believe that they can make a difference. Ride on, baby girl. I am so honored to be on this journey with...