Monday, July 13, 2015

A Birthday

What was silent in the father speaks in the son, and often I found in the son the unveiled secret of the father.
Friedrich Nietzsche 

  The above photo is my most significant Ruahine moment spent with my oldest son Taylor. I'm not quite sure why, as it is slightly out of focus. Then again maybe that is exactly why. The whole scene fairly well represented our relationship at the time, and to be perfectly honest still does. A bit out of focus, a bit unsure and the ground just below very dangerous and steep. It is only a 10 minute climb from where he sits down to the stream below. Yet it is 10 minutes that requires total concentration and the consequences of a mistake are possibly quite severe. This was perhaps the 5th time Taylor would do this climb down, starting from age 8 until here at age 18. Yet this one had me nervous and tense and I was very glad when he made the final small jump from the steep bank to the stream bed.

  Getting from the stream to the river, and the river down to Maropea Forks is pretty straight forward, just a matter really of one foot in front of the other. I relaxed and started to just enjoy the day. The sun shining and sparkling on the water, the pools deep and clear with a tinge of green. We came across a pair of whio and I stopped to spend a bit of time watching them and getting a few photos. Taylor carried on ahead....I didn't see him for the next 20 hours.

   Getting Taylor down that steep cliff seemed easy when he was little. I am not sure why it felt so hard when was older. Or why I didn't keep a closer eye on him down on the river, that I simply assumed he knew the way or would wait for me. Much a metaphor for my being his father. And being smacked between the eyes with the reality that fatherhood, parenthood, never really gets easier. It instead gets harder. Our own worries and expectations never really wane. I see so much of my own self in Taylor yet the words choke inside me, or are spoke in vain when I try to express this connection. The fragility of it freezes me or brings the words in ways I do not mean. I cannot steer his ship.

  Today is his birthday. I will not see him for another few weeks yet, I wished him a happy day and that I loved him. We have a long way to go down that river yet...



Barbara Martin said...

An excellent post about fathers and sons. The first photo has a glimpse of a knowing smile -- that, yes, he's in control of his situation. There is a comfortableness in your post, Robb, and in your family relationships that shows to the reader. Wonderful stuff.

Ruahine said...

Kia Ora Barbara,
Good to read from you...the once expanding world of blogging now seems to be contracting more each day. Though there is also a certain freedom in that. I still stop by and visit your place just quietly these days. I am working to find a level of comfort with family, and myself. Seems just as I find a comfortable position on the proverbial couch I have to move again. Such is life. Be well e hoa!