8 May 2011

The glassy sea: my father

We are gliding over a glassy sea. The only sound is from the oars as they rise and dip beneath the surface. That and my thumping heart as I gaze into the inky depths below. I see the black weed waving and imagine it clutching at my limbs, just as it does to the underside of the canoe. My father is not afraid. He carries me safely above the murky depths - its real and imagined dangers.

For me, this is the symbol of my father. His influence carries me safely above the baseness of the world. He has modelled tolerance, despite having his firmly held beliefs and attitudes. I have never heard him speak ill of anyone depite their difference. He argues with facts, without resorting to abuse. Unthreatened by any argument. Confident, sure and fair-minded.

His lesson of tolerance still resonates within me and carries me through my days.

He makes light of illness, death, misfortune - especially his own. If it can't be controlled then its better to laugh than to worry. I may occasionally cringe at his predictable jokes, but I value the ethos that underlies them - of riding, not fighting, the unrelenting waves of life.

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