I did not know that finding a new word each week would put me in such a state.
Really. How hard can it be?
When the point is to stay away from an academic discourse about the meaning of a particular word by dropping into the heart and experiencing the energy of it…sometimes it’s just easier to make blueberry pancakes smothered in yogurt and maple syrup. Or take a walk in the park or clean the bathroom or call my sister or…
So many truly wise and knowledgeable people have chipped away at the reasons we put things off until later. Growing up I listened to admonitions from Jiminy Cricket (he was funny) and my parents (not so funny) addressing the issue. I heard about the evils of putting off what needed to be done in Sunday School. And with the daily homework deadlines, you would think that I was well- versed in doing what was called for when it was called for. So you would think.
I’ll approach this word through music. The connection with music through my father was deep. He loved music and so do all of his children. It was from him that I learned to branch out from the familiar to enjoy the unfamiliar. I also learned to bask in the excitement of our own culture. Sadly, it seems that, in my adult years, the closest moments I shared with him about music were from the west coast and not in person. There were two.
On my first visit to San Francisco, I was in a club. I love that city. Jazz seemed to be part of the water folks drank. Miles Davis was the featured performer in this club, and it was midnight. I had forgotten about time zones. So, I called the east coast to share my excitement. It was 3 am in Washington, D.C
“Daddy, listen. It’s Miles Davis!” I held the phone up to the air.
Kindly, he paused and said something like “Really? That’s really nice, sweetie.” We chatted for about three minutes and he asked “What time is it there?” He knew. That’s when I remembered. But he had shared my enthusiasm for hearing such a musician-God as Miles Davis live and in person, and, for that, I was happy.
The second time we had a conversation, I was again on the west coast. I’d been singing with a jazz band and was excited about some casette recordings I’d made and wanted him to hear. He was ill by then with a back problem that kept
him in bed.
“Don’t put it off,” he said. “Send it on.”
I put it off for about a week. And then I got a phone call. You can guess the rest of the story.
To this day, I believe that he knew he was leaving and was performing his last daddy duty by warning me about the P word and telling me on a subtle level that there are some things that will not wait: death being one of them. It was a hard way to receive a lesson.
So. I’ve eaten my pancakes and finished my post, and reminded myself that everything is about words. I begin anew. Chip, chipping away.