Here they are. Little boys. And most of you know my boys to be WAAAY bigger than this now. And they're wonderful, each with his own astonishing talents and powers and dreams and marvels, each of them a blessing beyond price to their dad and me. But even in this sweet picture is captured a memory presaging their more modern-day selves; it's like a ghost image that only their dad and I can see. There is tiny Mac, making certain Dylan had his own ice cream, and working very hard to be tidy, tucking his Tracey Long nightshirt around himself neatly, looking around to check on things in between bites. There is Dylan, making us all laugh with his laissez faire view, going for the laugh, and putting his nose into the ice cream cone with confident abandon...this is all caught in the ghost image immediately before the photo was snapped and frozen for us forever. And now? Mac, making everyone proud with his service to our country, putting others before himself, trying, in fact, to be sure we all have our own ice cream, in his small way. Dylan, about 6 or 7 feet tall, still making everyone laugh, finding his voice as a singer and more, and (tanks be to GAHD, as my old friend Father Terry would say) proofreading this blog before I post it. (Yes, I know. You can always tell the ones Dylan hasn't read first.) And everyone always says this to you, and sometimes it seems like The Biggest Lie in the World, but it really DOES just go by so fast. And, oh, the wonders those boys have taught me...but those are tales for another night, my dears.
Little Ty, for short. She is the very patient, slightly vexed-looking aging debutante in the front right of the picture. Most Boxer rescue people will tell you that it's a dicey business having more than one female Boxer together, as one tends to be the dominant one and this can work out poorly for the others. But here is sweet old Ty for Short, tolerating incursion upon indignity, and making way as she must. I know dogs live only in the moment, but I can't help but think she has some dim memory of being herself a castoff, lost from her people for reasons she would never understand and taking what kindnesses were on offer. This is certainly anthropomorphizing, but that old grey face does serve to remind me of some important things, not the least of which is humility in the face of change. Which, it should be remembered is far easier to say than it is to do. Just look at that face.
My last little miracle will take you back to a previous post in which I talked about a sort of informal, organic, living art installation you can see at the northernmost point of the beach at Guana. I told you about it, but I think I was distracted by a recipe that night (can you imagine? Me? Distracted by a recipe?) and didn't get to the most important part. I even showed a picture, but I don't think I did it justice when I wrote about it.
There are little sections of this monument where people have created tiny bits of beach sculpture-within-sculpture. You'll see a corner dedicated to beach glass in all colors and shapes. For a time there was a lovely collection of those delicate scallop shells with the pink and white variations of color; it was lost to one of the winter storms whose tide was too high and strong to be withstood. There are artistic arrangements of beach detritus, wood, fishing tackle...just about anything you can imagine amassing itself on a beach. There are even arrangements which are eclectic and have their own standards and criteria not related to a focus on one kind of shell or bone or color. They are like an exhibition in a gallery, hung by a different curator, with a different eye, a unique sensibility.
And there is my collection of cats' eyes. It changes all the time, but seems to remain intact as a collection and I believe I'm not the only one who notices it. Too Young Looking to be a Grandmother, who told me she collects shells for her grandson (though she honestly looks about 30) finds them beautiful. Another lady told me she collected cats' eyes for artwork of her own. "Oh, that's YOU?" she asked me, "your collection?" I said that I collected cats' eyes for it, but that it wasn't mine, it belonged to all of us, and she should feel free to take any of them she wanted to use in her artwork. "Oh, no," she said. "It would feel weird to take them from the collection," and I knew just what she meant.
And it has another fan, or at least someone who's taken note of it. Hippie Segway Guy talked to us about it one day, how people have become curators of the whole thing, or perhaps just one small section of it, and how much it means to him to share this unvoiced connection with all of us. We finally stepped past that respectful reservation all of us observe with each other on this shared landscape and introduced ourselves. "Well," he said, in a sort of "can-you-beat-that" voice, after Rodney told him our names, "I won't forget that. Not only is my name Rodney, but my wife's name is Angie." Can you beat that?