Friday, August 8, 2008

Hope is a Holy Ghost

I just read that line in a poem by Tony Hoagland or I'm paraphrasing it. Loved it.

This morning, I took a walk on the beach with my youngest son Oliver. He's seven and wears his emotions precipitously close to the surface. I worry, sometimes, about him, at once marvelling at his quick wit and horrified by his lack of self-control. He had warred incessantly with just about everyone yesterday and last night, so this morning I thought a little quiet time together would be good.

And it was. We walked far along the beach at low, low tide, skirting dead jellyfish that were washed up and picking up tiny stripped clean seashells. An enormous storm last night had left the beach rough, but the sun had just risen and dolphins were arcing out over the water while pelicans dashed into the waves, picking fish.

"Let's talk about our five senses," I said to Oliver. "What do you feel on your skin?"

"I feel hard sand under my toes," he replied, "and shells in my pockets."

And so it went and we were finished with touch and smell and taste (we licked the shells and dipped our hands in the water) and hear and see. Then Oliver, said, "There's one more sense, and that's feeling." I told him that I thought we'd already covered that and called it touch.

"No, feeeeeling," Oliver said, drawing out the vowels. "You know, like what's in your heart." My heart stopped, of course.

"What do you feel?" I asked.

"I feel smart," he replied, "and quiet and peaceful. I feel hope."


  1. So profoundly beautiful. A "snapshot" you will remember forever.

  2. Beautiful essay, and what a wonderful boy. Reminds me of my son when he was younger. I miss those days!