Thursday, March 02, 2006

Where The Heart Is

My son Paul and I went to dinner last night -- something we don't get to do often enough. I listened to his account of his maternal grandmother's funeral, and the goings-on of people I actually once knew as family. If you want to know why divorce as a concept is inherently without sense, you can contemplate that for a moment.

For my part, I've become accustomed to the idea. The greater challenge, is the knowledge that Paul and I have not lived together regularly since he was five, for reasons over which I had no control. Now, as a young man of twenty, he is puzzled by the prospect that anything all that serious has been missed. I wondered out loud if he would know what it is to have a father, let alone to be one someday. I'm sure we'll get through this passage somehow, but I wonder...

I also wonder if he really has the sense of place that I knew as a boy. He wants to leave Arlington and move back to the area west of the Beltway, to that suburban nebula that he has known most of his life. As development encroaches ever rapidly, the landmarks change to the point beyond recognition. Were he to leave this area, say, for five or ten years, would he recognize anything upon his return? Would anyone be left to recognize him?

After twenty-five years in what is politely referred to as "the Nation's capital," I am lucky if the best friends I have made here return my calls within a few days. (Can so many of you be so important?) On the other hand, I can return to Cincinnati, to the town in the eastern outskirts where I grew up, and it can be as though I never left. Even to the present day, my calls get returned much more easily there.

All of this is food for thought, as I considered Maclin Horton's reflection on retaining a sense of place -- one of a series of Sunday night reflections, this one entitled "Staying Put."

If I'm lucky, Paul will read it, and will save me the trouble of further explanation.

2 Comments:

At 3/06/2006 02:01:00 PM, Anonymous your lil sis said...

Paul will have the example of people around him to learn from as well so don't beat yourself up thinking that it's something only you can provide for him. I've come to learn that one from my husband's own life experience ...

 
At 3/06/2006 02:08:00 PM, Blogger Jack said...

AS for watching places you lived in morphing into something you simply cannot recognize, remember the ol' saying: you can never go home.

 

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