We sit on the cusp of Ezi's departure for the US on Sunday night. He goes first to Claudia's outside Philly on Monday evening, then via Reno to Deep Springs College on Friday, where he'll start his new life on an isolated, working ranch-commune-farm-kibbutz-college in the High Sierra with 26 other independent-minded students and their 6-8 professors for two years.
For now, we fill the time before his maha-departure far, far beyond (or as Buzz Lightyear said so eloquently, "To eternity and beyond...")
As I type, Ezi lies on Leah's bed typing on his computer while listening to Snow Patrol. I've just come in from trimming branches off one of my favorite Bhutanese cypress trees which died this spring, transplanting some Japanese Arrow bamboo and simply strolling the garden.
It's hard to believe that Ez will be gone tomorrow. The joy of his presence in our home so fleeting when it seems so right and good and loved, alas...
These transitions aren't any easier for being more common. In fact, I think that they get harder as the reality of the paths diverging becomes clearer and the knowledge that our children are truly becoming people in their own right, young adults out to create their own worlds in their good and generous ways.
But, honestly, I don't recommend this process to anyone, even though we parents must go through it each in our own ways and times. (More to come, alas...) How much I long in my innocent heart to keep these children as little creatures, forever young (as Dylan sings...) their petite paws holding our hands, walking together in the market or mall, looking up in wonder and trust at the world from our waistline or below our shoulders. Why does it have to be any other way? Why can't we freeze that frame and rewind permanently? Why?
So, once again, I open my shirt and you hear my heart flapping as I sit here looking absorbed in my computer world.
Does Ez realize the mild trauma and anxiety that his dear ole Dad is feeling at this time? Does he know how hard it is for a parent to say goodbye to any of their children, knowing that they won't see them for six months or longer? In their youthful eagerness and Odyssean spirit of adventure, do they see the confused look in their parents eyes? Do they understand where these frail, vulnerable looks derive? Do they appreciate how many years of love and affection have gone into this sense of bewilderment when they realize that they were protecting a child to actually release them into the Wild one day? Are these adorable children wise enough to know the impact their departure has on the two people who birthed and raised them?
For some, maybe not, but I am certain Ez knows of these feelings, as I remember seeing such disorientation and concern in my dear father's eyes as I stood at the train station in Syracuse, New York in February of 1978 when I went off to travel around the world for six months without a ticket home...
I tell myself that this is a natural evolution, that Deep Springs will have an enormous and positive impact on this young man who was given to me as a spirit of nature, an offspring, a child, as a son. I try to recall Kahil Gibran's famous mystic poem about children being gifts in our lives, not possessions. I try to acknowledge that Ezra has his own gifts that are meant for a larger world than merely our cherished nuclear family. I know, as well, the positive impact Ez has had the past two years on the NMH students, faculty and administrators. Away from us, out in that larger world, he has shared his compassionate nature with others. He offered his worldly insights and idealism while learning the ways of the world outside Nepal and our home in Budhanilkantha.
I try to remind myself that this is all good, this is what it is all about, this is the nature of life, the truth of our human destiny, the circle of being, the laws of G-d and the blessing/mitzvot of being a parent.
I step back, breath deeply and take great joy in the accomplishments and gentle being of both of my sons.
Then, I want to go for a long walk alone to let these hard and demanding truths sink deeper into my soul so they are really, truly mine, fully mine, and not simply words on the screen but written on the lines of my forehead as I go out to embrace the world around me.
In this I, again, digress telling stories of my private world, our family's life, our sense of imminent loss and love so that you, too, may step back and feel the joy of being together with those you love, your families, your friends, even in pain, even in suffering, near each other, caring for each other. What more is there of life?
To touch, to guide, to embrace.
To send emails...
To let go, I guess...
Om Anicca Om
(and don't forget: Honor Thy Mother and Father....)
(for you may not know how they suffer in love,
as, it appears, G-d meant it to be...)