Feb. 12, 2008
In the Middle
of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day I look out the window,
green summer, the next, the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail, a metronome, 3/4 time. We'll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.
It's the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, born in Hardin County, Kentucky (now part of LaRue County) in 1809. Here are some things that you may not have known about Lincoln: He was the first president to have a beard while in office. And he was the tallest president at six feet, four inches.
He was the first president to be photographed at his inauguration. And in the picture of his second inauguration you can see John Wilkes Booth standing near him.
Lincoln liked animals and he owned a cat, "Bob," a turkey, "Jack," and a dog, "Jib." On the night of his assassination, they found in Lincoln's pockets two pairs of glasses, an ivory and silver pocketknife, a linen handkerchief, a Confederate five-dollar bill, a gold watch fob, and a new leather wallet with a pencil inside of it.
Lincoln was the only president ever to receive a patent. It was for a device that lifted ships over shoals in the water.
He was known for keeping an untidy office and also for his loud and resonant laugh. He admired the works of Edgar Allan Poe, but when Lincoln saw that a campaign document had claimed that he spent his free time reading Plutarch, he began reading Lives.
Many thought that Lincoln was overindulgent as a father and he would let his youngest two boys run and play freely in the Presidential Office.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®