Radiant Baby

Consciousness is an inexact proposition at best. The stages and forms ebb and flow as they do, when they do, and seemingly right on schedule. External forces exert themselves as we apply them and every why is explained in hindsight.

Periodically, it all shuts down to rest the animal form — or the unquantifiable force that manipulates it. Frankly, I’m unsure myself, as my daily experience of this cycle is completely null.

I don’t often dream when I sleep: I depart to points unknown and the universe goes with me. So, I know life as a workshop.

I’m learning much about personality construction in watching and participating in Benjamin’s process of remembering his. Elsewhere, I observe how the world transforms as I explore methods and attitudes of observation. In micro and macro, within and without, I’m studying choice. I don’t get it, not even close, but I see it in all of life’s parade, like wispy, diverging roads that float just ahead of each us, insubstantial till we step. In this workshop, it seems to me that we get to be as we choose to be.

75% of the way in to the building of a loft means waiting for joint compound to dry. A 3-4 hour window perfect for fresh air, a snack (read: pie), and all the other work that needs doing. Today: writing, mainly.

Dust off/grab the notebook/& a twenty/stroll out into high winds and warm sun. Warm enough for shorts and cool enough for soup. Perfect.

Outside the soup spot was a dog, a good one. Inside was a family of three: a casual-but-suited father and his children. The girl may have been 8. The boy, lightly autistic, with eyes like stars and a disposition of perfect joy, was aged exactly five. I know a 5 year-old when I see one, and this one was radiant.

I put myself at the window seat I favor, beside the family. With my face to the sun and back to them, I tuned into the delightful conversation between father and son.

I felt the boy’s exuberance behind me like a reflection of the sun’s warmth.

Before leaving, I introduced myself to Michael, asking if I might in turn ask his son’s permission to quickly photograph him. I explained that I found his son magical. Michael, the boy, had long before seen my request coming (I felt the anticipation on eye contact, as I approached) and was vigorously asserting YES before my ask was half over.

Father-Michael laughed at his son’s prescience and politely declined. I lingered to chat for a moment, and learned that Boy-Michael would be six soon. “In Janumember”, he said, glowing at the thought and tripping on words.

I thanked the family and carried on for pie, just next door. The distance is about ten paces from door to door, and I spent them weeping. Writing the words now again summons the feeling; it’s the emotional equivalent of looking at the sun.

Ten minutes later and Boy-Michael is outside Four and Twenty’s door, face pressed to glass, pointing at me in delight and with highbeams on. Of course they’d get pie.

I gave Father-Michael a great dad high-five as they passed me, opened my notebook, and wrote two words: Radiant Baby. None of the words that followed were the ones I set out to write this afternoon, and here they are, as they always were, waiting.

27 April 2012, 19:09


  1. You’re a good guy.

    — jesse · 2451 days ago · #

  2. That’s what I tell the boy – thanks, J.

    George Del Barrio · 2451 days ago · #