Thursday, June 30, 2011


What is contentment? I was wondering because I was feeling that way today.

The first image that comes to mind is a level line; mot overly long, not too thick. It a straight line...balanced, and perfectly horizontal...a black line neatly drawn across a white piece of otherwise blank paper. Balance. Harmony. Stasis.

Contentment is a baby lying comfortably in a wooden crib made of white pine, two months old, on its back, wrapped in a soft diaper, having recently been fed, looking up smilingly, with arms and legs extended; not in need but in thanks, to the young Mom and Dad who  gaze lovingly and proudly down on it: one plus one has equalled three.

Contentment is the 1950s America--much maligned now, but for those who lived then and who were embraced within its inclusion--we were awed at the flag, cheered the Yankees (or Cubs, or Dodgers, or...) and loved walking through parks, giggling at picnics, and were proud to be a Mom/Dad/American/worker/citizen.

Contentment is sunny day, the temperature hovering at about 68-degrees, with occassional white cotton clouds passing overhead, creating shadow patterns along the ground, grey forms darting across us and then up the near-distant curving hills, eventually disappearing behind the brightly seen mountain tops at the edge of the city.

Contentment is the car ride on a Sunday with Mom and Dad--his one day off a week--and Kurt my brother and Joy my sister to get five-cent hambergers on the way to Hudson County Park.

Contentment is recalling all this, and the pointer-fingers gently pounding away on the keyboard, definitizing these thoughts, as I move steadily to the final period, contant that the effort--all seventy-four years of it--has been worth it all.

Contentment is my wife in the next room, finishing her tasks as we prepare to drive to the beach, a few minutes away, to have lunch and watch the blue waves smack caressingly against the infinite dots of white sand. We will sit and chat and munch, and call on the cell phone our daughter and our lovely Granddaughter, and they will both chirp at us, like birds on the sand, about their day's activities.

My wife and I will then spend the rest of the hour silently at the edge of the ocean, both in our space but no longer part of this moment in time; each of us will have our own thoughts, the traffic and the rest of America behind us.  We will look out and see the ocean, and the pencil-thin, imaginary but very real, line where the sea meets the sky; neither finitude pressing on each other but lying there together like that baby in the crib.

We will be content.


Post a Comment

<< Home