It’s has the mythological weight of Ireland, this ranch, the way each day comes on like a different personality, a different ghost. In it I have newborn in hand as the light begins to come on outside and a line of fog reveals itself just under the ridge line of Vietnam (what we like to call the dense hills to the south) and just above the bass laden pond accompanied by the one yellow willow tree that was planted by my ex-wife 20 years ago.
The baby is asleep, but I am not. She trusts me cradling her as she securely floats in dream and makes the sounds of a philly foal romping through what feels like a religious meadow. When she’s awake she growls like old Nick Nolte and once she drifts off she transitions to the soft equine playfulness of a suckling taunting her mother. And I watch her, for hours. I stare at all corners of her face and make note of how it’s changed since the last time yesterday I was sitting in the same chair, a slightly different light outside, staring as if she holds some answer until her mother calls from upstairs that she is awake. Day after day, no matter where I fix my gaze, I see this cherubic cube whether she’s there or not, and she’s almost always there. Day after day I watch the sun’s light bathe one side of her face as it breaks through the fog, making a slow crawl across it, then, with a start, wake her once it reaches the thin eyelids not yet matured enough to sustain the black of sleep. She’ll look at me, and I’ll look back at her. A slight squeak she’ll search through, wriggle with, while trying to concoct yet another noise, any noise, from deep in the biological lab of her larynx. I watch, and coo back imagining what it was like for me at this age, and I’m not able to get my head around the profundity of the smallness of her. I am not able to grasp this “one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind” moment. We could be done for, but in the meantime we will float step over these white-dirt craters, and look back at the sphere swirl of ocean blue far back into the night sky, then look again forward into what might become of us, what smiles might come when.