It's a low-blogging week for me, because my father is visiting from San Antonio. So instead of spending my usual multiple hours a day basking in the glow of my laptop, I'm chauffeuring him around town to see the sights. Today we took in the current exhibition at MASS MoCA -- we agreed that we both liked the Matthew Ritchie stuff the best -- and sampled the wares of my two favorite coffee shops, both indie joints. (I also had the pleasure of showing Dad my picture in today's paper, which felt pretty neat.)
It makes me happy to hear the sound of my father's voice ringing through my house. The scent of his cigars and his aftershave is profoundly comforting, because it's such a familiar combination. We haven't lived under the same roof in thirteen years, so we're unaccustomed to one another's rhythms -- but I think we're both happy to have the chance to walk side by side for a few days.
It's a little bit strange to be away from my usual routines; away from the blogosphere; away from weekly meditation and the other practices that characterize, and ground, my day-to-day life. But it's good to be showing my father around my life: familiar haunts (we're returning to our favorite neighborhood pub tonight) as well as new experiences (we showed him his first episode of the Daily Show last night). I think of it as a practice of kibud av v'em (the mitzvah of honoring one's parents). Suspending my ordinary life for a few days when he comes to town is the least I can do.
I'll close this blog post with a link to one of my favorite poems, one which honors the poet's father for acts of lovingkindness performed without a word: Robert Hayden's "Those Winter Sundays." May my time with my father enrich and inform me. See y'all on the other side.