I’ve decided I’m just gonna write.
I wanted to write about Father’s Day, but my concentration is shot.
So instead I’m going to write about whatever comes to mind when I open my head and let it rain thoughts.
Or drizzle thoughts, for that matter.
Lately, in the space where I dream in color, there’s been fleeting gray-scale distractions, the stuff of life. The stuff we all have to do that doesn’t count, but adds up. Teetering piles of laundry. Baby food diced into pieces. Work. Words. Interviews. Gas to get. Coupons to cut. Dishes to pass and dishes to scrub. The sound of Henry waking up. The sound of Henry falling asleep. Shallow breathing. Deep sighs. Sips of air. Millions of baby alveoli wiggling like underwater coral.
Henry sleeping. It’s peaceful of course, like how the house used to sound before he was born. Except it’s not the same. Everything hangs in a delicate balance contingent upon naps. When he’s breathing deep, I’m breathing deep too.
I used to stare at his chest and wait for it to rise and fall, a neurosis that has all but disappeared now that he’s gotten older and less helpless. I used to picture his respiratory tree surrounded by a forest of pink tissue.
That’s the actual medical term for it, respiratory tree.
(Even science is poetry, the ultimate poetry, which is funny because I always considered science to be depressing. Then again, poetry can be depressing too.)
Ooo, but the sound of my son breathing is unlike anything I’ve heard before.
It fills me with a red, warm emotion so primal it can’t be communicated in words. His breathing puts into perspective the things that tug at my sanity and self-esteem.
In the company of his tiny, rhythmic exhales, everything else is a cloud of big white nothing, a dandelion head after it’s flowered, a silver ball that scatters its seeds with as little as one puff of air, until all that remains is a stem so strong you can tie it into knots and wear it as a crown.