The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

31 December 2018

Of corduroy hats and anniversaries

Ten years ago today I wrote here at the Lighthouse about my dad's death. The fluidity of time is such that it stretches long  and distant, then with startling unpredictability it contracts tightly into itself so that events seem near enough to touch them as though they just happened.
There are memories from within the months leading up to and immediately after that are a presence just over my shoulder. I can hear them and feel them clearly because time hasn't yet worn away the details of them. The month I spent with mom right after, for example, and the week we had the two littlest of the Peanuts with us. The months and months I slept with a candle burning on my bedside table. The sight of one of the boys climbing into the back of the hearse and hearing his pleas for Opa to come back. Unexpected conversations about him with people who'd known him. Standing in the grocery store with a can of tomato soup in my hand while other shoppers mercifully pretended it was perfectly normal for me to be crying.
The days immediately leading up to my wedding carried with them a lot of emotions about my dad, which, I think, is natural. I didn't dream of being walked down the aisle by my daddy, but I did - and still do - wish the two men had known each other. They would have got on so well, I'm sure of it. (In fact, I'm quite certain my dad had a hand in R and I being together)
Aside from wedding boohoos, it's been a while since I've been surprised to tears by stealth memories. Missing him has taken on a physical presence in my body like it's one of my organs and maybe because of that I've learned to let it do its thing while I carry on.
Which is why I was unprepared when a memory of his corduroy hat popped into my head a few days ago and had me weeping in the hallway at home. It's been ten years and I can picture it so clearly, still feel it in my hands.

03 December 2018

Floorboard collision

There is a writing prompt site called, where after clicking on 'go' you're taken to a new page with one word at the top, and below that, an empty text box. You have one minute - 60 seconds - to write anything, whether you're inspired by the prompt or not. At the end of time, a delicate chime sounds to signal it's all over, your fevered brain can rest, your fingers can still, and your heart rate can slow.

Today the prompt was floorboards, which caused my brain to fracture, because right away my thoughts headed to the state of my actual floorboards, which, if I were to have unexpected company, would bring shame on my Dutch ancestors, after all the hours they had spent daily scrubbing the sidewalk outside their front door as a precursor of the cleanliness within the home. But at the same time my mind went to a picture I saw in an issue of Outdoor Photographer today, of Arctic Hares leaping through tall grasses. (Dusty bunny to hare, get it?) The sight of a rabbit in mid jump is surely one of the most joyous images, so you can't help but smile in delight at the freedom and joy that comes from very nearly being able to fly. (Just think of yourself as a child on a pogo stick or a trampoline... without the broken bones, of course. See what I mean? Joy.)

The two thoughts collided causing inspirational paralysis. I typed and deleted about 75 words in those sixty seconds, mostly in an attempt to find a way to describe the highest jumping rabbit with words that didn't include 'leaping with abandon'. Mental thesaurus meltdown.

Even now, hours later, I still haven't swept my floors, but I HAVE spent some time online looking at more pictures of rabbits leaping with abandon, which has made me feel much, much happier, despite the appalling state of my housekeeping.