Monday, January 09, 2006

I'd Rather Have Sticks and Stones

one day a few years ago in September i found an old man sitting with his crooked back against a the thin fidget back of a little girl. shhh. there wasn't a word between them and they were so comfortable. thighs against some sort of stone wall. his legs tapping the ground, hers dangling over because they couldn't reach just yet.

i like watching old people. i think they know the right kind of way to be quiet. as do children. sometimes, and not just when they're watching the newest spongebob movie. i think i witnessed that a few years ago in september and couldn't help but try to honor that in words. i come back to that picture often. when i think about my grandfather. when i think about the kids i work with. the importance of quietness. young backs. old faces. crooked backs. walking canes. moses.

found him between a sermon on the torah. such a great load of words. of life for one man to hold. i wonder about moses when he was old, mostly about his face and his walking cane. old with a crooked back. needing that cane that had dragged across so much. turned water into something else. held him up. scolded his grandchildren. made magic. tripped someone at the store. all smooth and smudged from the weight of his fingers resting. scratched from bumping against rock canyon sea bottoms.

do you think his face looked like he was in love. all shining and dark from deity and the desert sun. do you think his face had ordinary wrinkles. around the eyes, but, oh, they had seen so much greater hurt. at the corner of the mouth, where so many syllable had pushed out their nearly true prophecies. near the bones in the cheek, had he laughed at the sight of gold slipping magic and so many frogs.

maybe in the end. he was an old man with his cane that had dragged across so much. that fit into his fingers. that made him look like any old man you might find at the water. at the store. sitting on a wall. with wrinkles at his corners. with a crooked back. enjoying the silence of a child and his cane.

*photograph by christian kerber, grandpas accordian, more at


At 11:38 AM, Blogger SilverGryphon said...

there is truely a beauty beyond deep that lies within the eyes of the well aged. the fires of life, burning love and passion, burning pain and sorrow, burning hate, burning compassion, refine people to shine simply and radiantly what they are at the core.
children similarly are beautifully and plainly expressive of themselves without the overbearing concern for the consequences of their actions, both good and bad.
When the two are together, it is like a beautiful meeting of two ends of the same spectrum, and they blend together like the red of a rainbow blends in with the blue. there is a chasm of life experiences that separates the two, but there is the simple connection of exsisting as they are with eachother that connects the two intimately...


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