For My Son, Isaac

Yesterday I watched Isaac in the front yard. He was kneeling in the driveway working with three rocks. The large and flatter rock was his platform. The square-edged rock in his right had was the grinder. The rock on the platform was an emerging arrowhead. He ground the stone for over an hour, and beamed when he said "look Daddy! It's just like the Native Americans used to make!" Isaac is taking the overlooked things of the earth and putting them to use. I was proud to call him my son in that moment, but that pride was a far cry from what I felt later that night.

We have friends who live in India, good folks who work with the less-than-privileged in an effort to build an intentional "artisanal community." Dave and his artisans build some of the most exquisite guitars I have ever seen. Mel and her artisans create coveted fabrics.  Last night, they came to town and hosted a gathering of friends to discuss their work. I took Isaac, and he listened intently, drank in their words (and his fair share of Chai tea to boot!).

On the ride home, Ike couldn't stop talking about India, how the community collects wood and wool, how they create things from the stuff of the earth. He asked whether we could go visit, whether he could make friends with the boys his age that lived in the village. He asked whether he could save his money and whether we could buy plane tickets soon. He said he'd like to understand what the world really looks like outside of Fayetteville.

As we pulled into the driveway and walked toward the house, the cicada songs were near deafening. On the old table by the door there were spent cicada skins collected, and I asked Isaac whether these were his.

"Yes," he said. "Some people think that molted cicada skins are gross, but I think the things God makes are worth saving."

Isaac is awakening to the nuances of the world. This is one of the better gifts God could give a father.

*****

The Economies of Our Sons

On the white metal table by my front door are spent skins of cicada nymphs.

Brittle,

translucent,

they have been collected by a boy of eight who’d rather store nature’s leftovers than hoard the first fruits of man’s

coarser

labors.

He is a gentle one, a simple son who says he’d like to friend the fellows in Rajpur who spend mostly imagination, save mostly their kin, and play mostly with the stuff given by the God of the earth—stuff like

wood,

wool,

rock,

and other things overlooked by the

too busy and

least curious.

*****