Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Unbearable Brightness of Being

Ready for takeoff

If you want to touch the past, study rocks. If you want to touch the present, pick flowers. If you want to touch the future, teach a child. (I'm too lazy to look up who said that.)

From time to time I get to musing about the Interconnectedness Of The Generations. I can trace a branch of my ancestry back to Tudor times, as can a lot of other descendants of this particular gentleman. The earliest ancestors of which I have photographs are only at the great-grandparent level, though. There are certain photos of grandparents that I have grown up with, even though I never knew those particular grandparents. (My last grandparent died when I was 16.) I sometimes get a weird time-slip feeling, as if the present moment is really happening 100 years ago, and I'm just a mute, fading image in a few dozen surviving photos, same as them, and some unimaginable descendant is trying to read my personality across the void of years.

Maybe it won't be photos. Maybe it will be some other medium, like, oh, this blog, preserved as is or in some yet to be invented format. (You think Thomas Edison could have imagined his wax cylinders being played digitally over a world wide web of computers? Or Eduard Manet, that his Bar At the Folies Bergere would adorn pc desktops?) Well, that'd be more informative than a photograph in some ways, I guess. But posterity rarely cares to read things directly addressed to them. They prefer to eavesdrop. Well gang, if you're reading somewhere down the road, the pair in the picture up top mark a major milestone, since our known story began in the 16h century. I guess by the time your era rolls around you'll know just how major.

But back to you, dear contemporary visitor. I became a parent at an old enough age to know that I had better cherish the bejabbers out of every day I have with these two, especially while they're small. So, to that end, I always wrap up their day with a set beddy-bye routine. It ends with a little prayer of my own composition:

May God bless the living,
And the memory,
Of these days.

1 comment:

  1. Marvelous post about cherishing your children while they are small. On all levels, my own children to that of what I leave behind myself. Unfortunately, in my own family history I can go back to the early 19th century. I have thought of the same as you post here, how is this current medium (mega terabytes of online and offline data) to be stored for those in the future to read.


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