Saturday, May 22, 2010

By the Lake Where Hardly Anyone Goes

Greeted by a territorial goose (is that redundant?). Feed it tortilla chips left over from my Chipotle's dinner last night. Sit in the somewhat trashed gazebo. Small fish flitting near the sunlit surface. Cool breeze. Watching a fisher bird dive and snag a bug? A small fish? Watching the fisher bird nibble up its wriggly treat. Goose swims up to the gazebo. Feed it some more tortilla chips. Spot a turtle sunning itself on a log about twenty yards away. Birds chirping. Faint aroma of honeysuckle. Goose swims over by the turtle. Turtle swims away. Goose starts hollering rather urgently. Thought maybe goose was calling for friends. Later on, turns out goose was calling for mate. Goose and mate glide along the water, away from me, making a swimming sandwich of their four fuzzy taupe goslings. Train: CSX, Hamburg Sud, Schneider, stackers. FedEx Ground. Someone's very important package is in there. Where is it going? Finishing up The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Good read, but not my favorite all-time novel. People have dreams, some realistic, some fantastic, some they live out. People have those dreams on afternoons like this.


Oscar William "Bill" Rabensteiner, Jr., my father, contracted polio in 1925, at the age of 7, long before Drs. Salk and Sabin developed their vaccines. He told a story of sitting in his wheelchair, pulling himself up with the porch railing, then walking the length of the porch gripping that railing like a toddler on the verge of unassisted walking. His disease could have put him on his back or in a wheelchair for life, but combining his and his mother's determination, through sheer will he learned to walk again and strengthened his arms with weight training. He went on to express an incredible artistic talent at Jesuit High School in New Orleans and throughout his 30+ years as artistic director of New Orleans Recreation Department. When I am asked to name qualities my parents instilled in me, I will always proffer perseverance as the top quality my father taught me. Against seemingly impossible odds, he overcame the crippling potential of polio and gave the world his art--powerful, richly colored, emotional, and truth-telling. As illustrated in this image from his Head of Christ, modeled in part on his own face, Bill knew suffering, but knew how to transform it by means of oil paint into a word of truth about what our separation from the Word of God meant for humanity.