I used to think I found serenity in a forest. I thought I found stillness there.
I stand corrected.
I have never felt so still, so completely part of the world as when I sat late at night in a muted hospital room beside my father.
The suck and hiss of his breath had the same effect as a soft tide rattling a shingle beach. Hours would pass easily, broken only by the weak wave of a skeletal hand, adjustments of pillows, quilts and body or a gentle touch to my cheek.
I believe in family lines; blood, whether one likes it or not, binds family. I felt that chasm open in the moment my first child was born, and I walked along the path beside it with my father while in that hospital room.
My father walked that path with a courage and strength of will that is inspiring. He did not trip into the vast purple unknown, he stepped out strong when the chasm widened before his feet.
His grandchildren play in the grass behind me. I stand on the edge, waving.