A Park Today

A family of old trees stand together. Their trunks shoot straight up before branches spread out the sky. I love their shade. Their calm presence. Their steadiness.

These trees help obscure an old house adjacent to the park. The house looks scary. Signs along the fence read, “No trespassing.” The trees in that yard are also old. The other foliage is overgrown. Branches gnarl and twist and canopy what might be a lawn.

Large arches signal entryways (NO TRESPASSING), but simple chainlink lines the perimeter. Between long, stamped-down stretches of rusty webbing, it stands somewhat upright.

The family of old trees serve as sentinels. They warn against going past them. They are a much more effective fence than the janky wire barrier. I do not go beyond them.

The straightness of the trees gives me strength. Bestows courage. Grants power.

The will to stay away from that creepy, old house.

Cemetery Time

We visited Nana again last night, June 1 being the second anniversary of her passing. In addition to the many bouquets of flowers left at her gravesite, we launched some balloons in her honor.

It’s a lovely idea, really: the releasing, the floating. The beauty of the symbolism.

And the evening was perfect: the coolness, the breeze, the perfect sky.

Reilly’s sister picked up the balloons. She chose colors that match Carla’s favorite rose from the front flowerbed. Reilly’s dad; his sister, her son; his two brothers, his sister-in-law; a close family friend; me, Z, and he. Each of us held two balloons.

Z counted us down, and then we let our balloons go. They drifted away together. Upward, joining the heavens, becoming sky.

Ink

21 August 2019 I got a tattoo. I had been thinking about getting one for a long time: what it should be, how big it should be, where to put it.

I decided on a hummingbird. In many cultures this animal represents joy, happiness, good luck, and positive energy. Love and playfulness. These are all things Z embodies. I mean, spend two minutes with her and there’s no denying it.

I also like the idea of how quickly its wings move yet gives the impression of stillness and calm. The average hummingbird beats its wings 53 times per second. This speed allows it to hover mid-air, to take its time as it siphons nectar from various flowers. As hard as it works it presents beauty while seeming to enjoy life.

That’s important.

There are tons of images of hummingbirds all over the internet. At first I didn’t know if I wanted something more realistic or fantastic or simplistic. Somehow I decided on simple and clean.

I went to a tattoo studio that a coworker likes and set up an appointment. A week later I walked in with a printout of the image I wanted. We talked about size and placement. I wanted it on my right shoulder, and if I got it big enough, he could use the colors that were on the printout, and they would be easy to see. I went for it.

The artist made a template of the printout. He suggested that the hummingbird should be facing inward, aesthetically speaking. I trusted all of his advice, because this was my first tattoo, and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing.

I lay on his table, and the artist got to work. The whole thing took just over an hour, maybe 70 minutes. A few times the pen buzzed against bone, which sort of hurt, compared to the merely annoying pressure of the rest of the piece. All in all, relatively quick and mostly painless.

I spent the next two weeks applying ointment to the tattoo and covering it with clingwrap. I spent the two weeks after that moisturizing it with lotion. Reilly helped with applying ointment and bandages from time to time.

It still looks as good as it did a year and a half ago. I love this reminder of the people in my life who possess hummingbird-like qualities, especially our glorious Z.

No regrets here.