spooling up time and history

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

My brother Steve and I spent the last two days together in Puerto Rican castles, forts, rain forests and underwater marine parks. We got up and went out and saw it, just like we did when we were little boys. We snorkeled Farardo beaches, tramped El Yunque rain forest, ate and ogled our way through the old San Juan.

We are unwinding time and spooling it back up too.

Yesterday I went down to Starbucks to get fueled up for another days’ hard work goofing off.

That’s when I spotted her, the little girl, looking like a snail in the forest or a butterfly fish in the reef. She sat in her dark pink cotton dress just ten feet from me, or nine and one-half, and lifting her chin to the yogurt in a plastic spoon, she let her daddy feed her. I looked at her adorable little cheeks and eyes and it was so very clear to me exactly how she would look when she is an old women.

Then trailing behind him, she had the good sense to look down and take the steps out of Starbucks carefully. They were huge cliffs to her little legs. It won’t be  so much of a drop to old age.  When little miss pink dress is old she will be fed again from a spoon and take steps down guardedly and slowly, as if they are a danger to her which they will be.

The coffee worked and so we got out to  Old San Juan. There we dithered and doodled around and  saw some  old Puerto Rican men setting in one of the plazas and throwing their  white and black spotted dominoes on a metal table top, the stone bricks at their feet still puddling from the afternoon shower.  The men rose up out of the bricks and came alive in such an adorably idiosyncratic way that was so very and wondrously similar to how the Chinese men distinguished themselves when I saw them in San Francisco last month, sitting close in the park, circled up, gesticulating and jawing over the newspapers.

I can’t stand it; can you? They are all so beautiful, the little girls, the little old men, my brother, all of them,  raising their chins to spoons, to dominoes, meeting in the squares — consorting, confabulating, historicizing, disambiguating. The one with the thin black mustache, the domino man, the character, he is a factor in the community, he has a place at the table — he is absolutely beautiful and amazing.

Listen to me! There isn’t that much time left and there is so unbearably much. The little girl becomes an old women tomorrow; the old men in the park were young boys but yesterday and we will bury them this afternoon and yet now they remain.

Steve and I took the tour of the tunnels in the Castillo de San Cristóbal. Park Ranger Annie led us. I loved Annie, her energy, her enthusiasm for the history of the fort, her fun, her flashlights, her drama, the very herness of the very her. Annie is the little girl in the pink dress grown  up. She told us that she had come to San Cristóbal when she was a little girl and loved it, but then there was  no guide. And then in one perfectly articulated moment, when the exploding cannon ball above the tunnel door had been told on, Annie turned on us and gushed in the most ingenuous and personally, personalized fashion, “I wish I had me when I was a little girl!”

I could have hugged her right there! Yes, yes, yes, yes, si!

This is it! She got it! We all so needed our adult selves when we were little, to protect us and to teach us what we would eventually know eventually. We get just that. If we live, we all eventually become our own guides. We grow old so quickly that the child is swallowed by the adult becoming the child again. Tired of being your age? Blink. Tired of feeling old — remember. They merge, the memories and the now, the young in what is old.

I love my brother Steve.

We had us as little boys, and we have us now and nothing will ever take back the us of the very us of us.

Tomorrow we hoping to do some more holidaying.

Someone is feeding me.

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