It turned out to be an unexpectedly hectic weekend, one that played on my emotions more than I expected and has sent me into a reflective mode that seems qualitatively different than my usual reflective mode, which is not to say that I didn’t relish today’s jaunt with Skye through Pt Defiance Park even more than usual.
The weekend began with a poetry reading by Billy Collins in downtown Tacoma, thanks to a pair of tickets from Mike. Despite the fact I almost always enjoy myself when I go out to an evening event, I seldom do so. I suspect that it has much to do with being oriented toward outdoor activities. I seldom check the entertainment section of the paper and when I do I am more likely than not to discover something I would have enjoyed seeing took place yesterday, or a month ago.
Although I’ve attended some open-mike poetry readings here in Tacoma, I really haven’t gone to poetry readings since I attended the University of Washington. Looking back I realize that many of my favorite poets are those that I had the privilege of actually listening to at one time in my life. I’ll have to admit that I think I prefer listening to Billy Collins than I do reading his book. Unlike many poets I’ve admired, he seems genuinely likable. Still, I had to buy his latest book since I was there, and I’ll undoubtably have more to say when I’ve finished reading it.
Unfortunately, I spent Saturday attending Duane Kendall’s funeral in Vancouver. Duane and I started teaching in the Battle Ground School District within a year of each other, and though we were never close friends we had enough common interests we probably could have been under different circumstances. We also shared nearly forty years of common activities, including lunches after we retired. I thought I had grieved his imminent death over the last year or so when it seemed clear that he was not going to beat his lung cancer.
What nearly overwhelmed me at the funeral, though, was the sudden confrontation of teachers I’d taught with over thirty years, many I hadn’t seen for nearly twenty years since the district split into two high schools. Most of the time before the funeral began was spent trying to put names to faces that looked like faces I had once known, sometimes, as it turned out, to faces that only looked like faces I had once known but were actually total strangers. It was, surprisingly, nearly an overwhelming experience since I’ve never been one to particularly look back, having only returned to one high school reunion in my whole life, only to vow that I would never subject myself to that again.
I have no idea what all those feelings, and the dreams that seemed to flow from the experience, mean. but it was powerful enough and haunting enough that I’m sure that it will manifest itself here later.
Sunday was spent celebrating Mira’s first birthday, and it’s hard to imagine how a day could have been more different that the previous day. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Mira, and I was amazed at how much a one-year-old changes in such a short time. Not every moment was quite this happy,
but, as usual, I found myself enchanted by the immediacy of the very young. Though I’m glad I’m not driven to tears or angered so easily, I envy their sudden rush to joy.