March 11, 2011 at 8:14am
We were excited to see it. It was my son who pointed it out to me as we drove onto the highway from the hospital plaza where the kids just had their dental cleaning. I said we have to take a picture. Told them that it was worthy to share, to capture, to keep, to remember for later. And he took the phone from me, as I handed it to him from the front seat to the back where he and his sister had been sitting licking their teeth, and grimacing at the fluoride taste for the past fifteen minutes since we left the dentist office.
It’s a miracle, I said perhaps too eagerly, wanting them to cherish the sight. I am in this teaching mode always but often, there is no student. We are all teachers here. No, it’s not, they replied in unison. It’s science, my son added with conviction. Well, I paused, sensing a losing battle but not quite determined to give up yet. It’s like the rodeo, this thing I do with my kids, where I try time and time again to get on the animal desperate to teach, to tame but in the end, I go away, often with a noticeable limp. Well, I tried again. Miracle is everywhere. Seeing this beautiful sky is a miracle. You and me being here in this car is a miracle. You see?
He frowned, or I guessed he frowned. I couldn’t really see his face, as I was driving on the highway, looking ahead. I heard him fidgeting in the backseat, with the phone camera and with the conversation about miracles his mother was determined to have. It’s not a miracle, he responded but I could tell his focus was now on capturing the light shone from the sky, peering in between the gray clouds.
I can’t get it right, he muttered in frustration. You try, he said, handing the phone to his sister. She started snapping away, without much fuss. She’s like that. No worry. No second thoughts. She just goes. He, on the other hand, is a little body full of careful deliberation. He debates and ponders, considers and agonizes over every details. It’s an alien ship, spotting the church, she chimed in with a smile. Or the little angels tearing the clouds, playing flashlight tag, he started playing along.
Are you going to write a poem about it? my son wanted to know after a while. Maybe, I told him, unsure of my ability to come up with something decent. Recently I’ve cleared out clutter in my head, and along with it, my supposed ability to compose poems went.
Write a poem, he insisted. Call it “Heaven’s light.”