Snoop Sitting

22 May

Underneath the rare New York City stars, with a cold drink on the warmest night of the year I sat with her. And my dog sat nearby staring out at whatever it was that had his attention at the moment. There was a lazy breeze. You could see the path lamps in the park forest. It was as quiet as I can ever remember my neighborhood on a weekend night. I had a secret that I couldn’t tell her. As bad as I wanted to, I couldn’t. Sometimes it can feel like our whole lives are about secrets.

In thirty years of living, working with, learning from, and teaching people; trying to maintain relationships with friends, family, and loved ones I have learned one thing for certain: all of us have something(s) that define who we are and that only we know about. It’s the human condition.

I sat in the park on Saturday morning. A woman had set up several picnic tables for a first birthday party. There was a huge “1” balloon waving in the slow breeze. A man in a sleeveless t shirt slept on a bench in the same area. His hands were over his eyes shielding the sun. A few children ran circles around the swings. Birds called out. It was the most beautiful morning I could remember. Two men began a chess match. The paper was full of garbage. I sighed and closed my eyes and when I opened them I glanced over the park: I wanted to remember all of this. Forever.

When you work in my profession (and as much as some politicians would like to just classify it as a job, it is a PROFESSION) you learn fast that if you want to do this right, you’ve got to dedicate your life to it. It has to be what drives you if you want to be fair. It has to be even more than a profession. It has to become a vision. I didn’t know that coming in to it. I have been blessed to figure it out by observing others. One of whom is a beautiful, intelligent woman.

My dog, Snoop, is sitting on the end of the couch. He is starting out of the rain-soaked window onto the damp trees and street. He is looking out at the world. He knows nothing about the world. I want to tell him just how much I love him and need him. But I would be speaking in a language he would never understand. He’d never know just how I feel or how much it comforts me to watch him stare curiously at the rain soaked window.

Teaching is like this: you see someone who needs to know something. You try to tell them, but you have to try incredibly hard to tell them in a way they can understand. It doesn’t make sense to explain Shakespeare to a reluctant reader using Terry Eagleton. You’ve got to explain the big bang by lighting a match. The thing is, we are constantly teaching whether it is our profession or not. We spend our lives teaching others about ourselves. Learning who we are.

One of my closest friends asked me last week to write a post about her. That’s what this was supposed to be. But I am selfish, and I am in love and so it’s turned into something different entirely. Snoop shifts on the couch as I write, and he looks at me in a way that says, “Tell me.” I am trying.

The other day I was having a rough day. I asked my friend about her newborn daughter. She sent me a picture. This was no regular baby. This was the most beautiful chubby cheeked smile in the world. And the eyes! They really spoke to something. Something about the beauty of life. Something I can’t put into words.

After sitting in the park for a while on Saturday I went on a little adventure. I went somewhere and did something that is a secret. That I wouldn’t want anyone to know about just yet. But I never felt so right about something in my entire life. I felt the way the woman felt setting up her child’s first birthday. The way the man felt resting in the sun, hands shading eyes. The way that beautiful baby in Boston looks out at the world with the most curious eyes, unable to know just how blessed she truly is. I felt entirely certain in my uncertainty. I felt like I finally loved who I had become, who I was, secrets, pleasures, disappointments and all. I felt ready.

We make mistakes. Over and over we do. I have made to many to count. But we also (should) try our hardest. We have to figure out just why there is anything more important than sitting on a roof with the woman we love, looking at the stars, our dog nearby. We have to find out that perhaps there isn’t a damn thing more important.

Snoop puts his chin on my lap. He looks up towards me tho I can’t quite see his eyes. He wants to know what’s up.

When I watched the mother sit back and look over the birthday setup she had put together in the park, I couldn’t help but smile. There will be a one year old being showered with adoration this week. There is a beautiful baby in Boston being raised by beautiful people. There is a man just trying to relax in the park. His hands are shading the sun from his eyes. So many wonderful people I know are doing wonderful things. The beautiful baby keeps blinking.

I am in love. Only one person in the world knows it for a fact: but on Saturday I chose to ignore the secrets of my past. I chose to decide my best possible future. And then I put a couple dollars down on a horse. I made a gamble I didn’t care about, because I knew I had already made a sure bet on the one thing I care about most.

Happy first birthday. Happy nap in the park. Good luck on the game of chess . Be safe around the swings. Happy, happy, happy life with two beautiful parents. Happy blinking eyes. Happy New York City stars. Happy life. I cannot wait to share it with you. No more secrets.

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