The Fountains. . .

  August 9th, 2018 by Once

It’s the difference between some humidity, and no humidity that makes heat miserable or tolerable. If you’re lucky, you’ll have access to a pool, if not, then maybe just a cold shower can help cool you off.

A prominent local park has the fountains on this summer. Strong streams,  shooting twenty feet high, raining down cool, cool relief from summers blaze. T-shirts, shorts, trunks, one piece suits and bikinis, flip-flops and bare feet, and the common denominator is water, cycled skyward by powerful pumps that know nothing of the joy they bring.

Teens, kids, one or two adults comprise today’s relief seeking sweaters. God, if I wasn’t so uptight, I’d have stepped off my bike and joined them, but no, not today. Best to stay out of his way, his work is much too important and beautiful. . .

His? Him? Huh?

I don’t know, maybe 40? Slightly overweight, a nice gut going on. And a smile. Bright red Polo Shirt is what grabbed my attention, beige cargo shorts, slightly bald, and no flip-flops or foot wear of any kind for him. Just bare feet.  His wife, if I may be so presumptuous, stands with the others, the “dry” crowd, and she smiles at him. Her job today is photographer, and phone in hand, she positions herself for the best angles, monitoring the direction of the sunlight, ensuring that these pics will be properly framed and preserved.  They’ll make memories one day. . . “Look, that’s you, with Daddy, sweetie”.

It’s what isn’t being said, what can’t be photographed, can’t be held or even touched, that caught my attention. . . it was the dreams, the hopes, the caring, the love. Maybe the heat was making ME crazy. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Dad, in his bright red shirt, moving slowly through the fountains cooling deluge, around him are others, running, jumping, yelling, laughing, playing – it’s August, school is still weeks in the future, kids living the high temp summer dream. Wet, fun, cool, carefree and reckless.

But not him.

This is life and death, in its casual  clothes. In its summer swim gear. This is about balance, and finesse and grace. This is about ice. Ice? Yeah, man, ice. You know how you walk on ice? That stilted, awkward, stiff gait that ensures you won’t slip and break a bone? That entirely subconscious reaction to unsure footing that mother nature and her devotion to the preservation of life has gifted us with? “He” was doing it. And doing it well.

Back and forth, one direction, then another, now stop for Mom and the camera, all smiles as the shutter clicks, and a memory is recorded, to be shared ten, fifteen, twenty years from today. . . or not.  At least that’s the general idea, as the  love and hope in today’s summer heat manifested itself.

“He” checks his cargo often. It is cargo worth care, it is fragile. Does it enjoy today’s antics? Mmmm, who knows. Well, at least most would agree that the whole situation is not a bad idea. Mom is comfortable enough to watch, and to record the comings and goings, as her husband and father of their child expertly holds tight a bundle of baby, a head and two arms wrapped in a towel, does a boogie woogie sideways slide through waters cooling comfort.

Three, four, five, six months old. . . anyone’s guess. Boy, girl, ditto. Wet, cool, loved? Yes, obviously.

A world waiting, a world of dysfunction and anger, of pain and of love. Of sweet and of sour, of loss and of gain, of happy and melancholy, of triumph and question, of defeat and certain confusion. A world awaiting, a waiting world.

It was touching to witness the care “he” (Dad) exercised as he and his child carefully and slowly moved through the cooling shower of water under the blazing sun. So many physical forces at play, yet so fragile a life that care and caution are it’s sole bodyguards this moment. . . so innocent and oblivious, but for this moment now. . . loved.  Loved for the promise it brings, the hope and the joy, the expectations and the dreams. Loved, unconditionally. Held close and securely by one who would want to wither and die without this little bundle of reason, without this pint package of purpose.

Enjoy your love, little one. Savor it, dine on it, inhale it’s purity and revel in its rarity. Exist in its moment, bathe in its perfection, for it will not last.

For the briefest of moments, I felt that love, as though it’s possible to feel that which can only be imagined. . . love without strings. Love that simply is, raw and unadorned, lava from the depths of the volcanic heart, love that pours out unfiltered and asks nothing. Like a glimpse of a hummingbird, like a feather in a storm, like a rainbow in the setting sun – fleeting, temporary, impermanent.

Oh, to know that love, to bathe in it and bask in it. To know only it and to never be separated from it, but such is not the case, and today’s little bundle of baby will know soon enough of our world of limits and deception.

That will be then, not today, but all of tomorrow’s next days.

Today, though, a Mom and a Dad, in August’s hot heat, cooling themselves and their world of baby in a shower of love that no scribe can describe, that no explanation can explain.



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