yesterday another set of bricks were laid in the grass next to my kaiser. my brother "had them kill his dog," as he put it. a stroke earlier in the day had paralyzed her. stealey was nearly 14, a former playmate of my kaiser. i have a darling picture of them in my old apartment on valley view road in morgantown, on my couch with their front paws on the top cushions, looking out the window, tails at happy attention. that was 1999, and my couch was drenched in two types of purple fabric i'd chosen from the tree-trunk-sized rolls at the store on don knotts boulevard. the swaths' edges were held together with safety pins or left free to fray bc i didn't yet own a sewing machine to finish them. my grandmother would buy me one for christmas the next year, and from then on i would become an average seamstress. if i had become a great seamstress i wouldn't have had time to become average at the twenty-odd other hobbies and habits that occupied the billions of blinks and breaths that signaled the passing of thousands of my days. being the best at anything requires a degree of focus that acts as water to the fires set in my mind. tiny fires...sparks, much like those i recall seeing as a child at my family's welding shop...little bursts of red-orange with flashes of white, spitting and bouncing into the air.
my brother raised stealey with great care and focus, and she was far better behaved than any of my dogs. discipline dampened my affection for my dog-children, and so we went mostly without. we fared okay over the years, despite. as for my human child, it's much the same — thus far, i'm allowing him to wander along his big new world as he pleases. eventually along our way — maybe this week or next year or whenever the occasion or unruly sparks in his burgeoning thoughts call for it — i'll intervene in his world. hopefully not too much bc i want him to be independent, but hopefully enough bc i want him to grow to be a man of integrity. tread carefully, my son, for you'll leave footprints wherever you roam.
men of integrity. a subject that has smoldered inside me for years. there are a few men of integrity out there, although too few in my experience. i have always struggled with feeling i had to choose between believing it was my fault for choosing poorly or the man's fault for behaving poorly. these days i'm less inclined to think i have to choose; i accept (with a degree of embarrassment) my missteps and hold an awareness of (accompanied by dormant resentment) the reckless urges of men. essentially, the fault in relationships lies exactly how faults lie: it is a chasm between two sides. depending on the forces within, it might remain narrow and silent or stretch wide and furious.
fire, like thoughts, can be a thing of creation or destruction. thoughts, like sparks, like this blog entry, can shoot in all directions from their starting point and sputter in quiet irresolution.