Between the Lines

There's a few things my father did that I could never forget.  One is that he would never let me give up or doubt myself when there was something I really wanted.  He explained to me that all things come, in due time, with right action, and he showed me how to put this to work on the computer and at school.  Later, my father taught me how to enjoy a morning in the park with a cup of coffee.  He taught me to pay attention to the bighorn sheep and the birds, becoming more sensitive to what they were seeing and doing from a short distance away.

He loves sports, and he always did.  All of them, and all of the players.  To him, there was nothing more spectacular than an excellent display of athleticism, and he taught me that every day there is a similar sort of athleticism to how you live your life, how much you can learn, and how you can apply yourself.  This, of all things, had always stuck with me.  My father taught me to be well reasoned, self-directed, and at times paranoid.  He taught me to be punctual, detailed, and determined.  He gave me confidence that no one else in the world could have, and I knew to never let go of it.

I wanted to know everything, and he knew this about me from very early on.  I was 6 when I started troubleshooting his computer for him, and the neighbors' too.  My father taught me I didn't have to answer to anybody if I had a good reason not to, and so I took this to school with me.  My father taught me I could be the best, if I really put my mind to it, and so I did.  He made sure I knew the only limits in life are those that you impose on yourself; how potent and powerful I found this wisdom to be as I got older.

My father taught me about stocks, business, and distinction.  My mother taught me that my father was funny.  He was funny, and he meant to be funny, but I always got the sense that life was so heavy for him, and he saw acutely that life would weigh on me as well.  

My father has always been in great shape; he is an excellent swimmer, and a tactful pool player.  His face was red and scarred, as mine has become, and he clabbered his feet in his confident gait.  He would also always stub his toe going around corners in the house, which I thought was funny; my father was always in a hurry.  In the car, he was usually narrating, in his slightly raspy and proud northern accent.  He imbued in me a discerning taste in cars, movies, and music, and all manner of life.  He was always restless for something new.  I had to learn how to be restless for myself, taking heed of the strong-willed man I saw going before me.  I pushed hard on my pens then, but I still write hastily.  I kept my space spotlessly clean, but this isn't always the case now.  

It came naturally to me that I could learn the most about how things work by paying attention to how they work beneath the surface.  I learned on my own the importance of floating it right down the middle of the river.  I couldn't have understood what that meant without seeing it for myself; things gain a remarkable clarity when you expose yourself to the current they run along.  Through experience, one becomes more sensitive to natural forces, learning to be still in still water, and vigilant in ripping tide.  My father taught me how to see 100 steps ahead, and above all, to always read between the lines.

Burning Bush
Doctor Robert