You know how sometimes you’ll do something you’re not proud of, and then you resist telling people about it, perhaps fearing what they may say, or think. You try to put it out of your mind and not think about it. Until one day, you’ve pretty much forgotten it ever existed. It has become so tiny, it no longer resides in your world. And then, something happens and wham! there you are, facing the issue you thought was gone and forgotten. The universe has a way of retrieving these incidents you made so tiny and insignificant, and then setting them right in front of you, life size once again. You know what I’m talking about? Or am I alone here?
I would like to tell you the whole story about these toes some time, but I’d like this post to be a simple, short one regarding the notion of scale. I’m not going to write about the size and scale of pain or suffering one might cause another. I’m going to skip the part of the story that takes us down to Mazatlan, Mexico for Spring Break, years ago. I’m going to skip the part about renting a Jeep and driving up the steep dirt road and reaching the lighthouse that sits atop that mountain, a mile above the Pacific Ocean below. I’m going to skip the part about making love overlooking the sea from that great height on a crisp, clear day, the water silver and shimmering in the wind, the sailboat, tiny in the distance, gliding by. I won’t discuss why this scene is huge on more than one level.
I’m not going to discuss the train trip home, the women holding chickens by their feet upside down, and how my surfboard got stolen from the cargo car. I’m not going to tell you what the gypsy psychic told us or how important it is—especially these days—to use a condom. I’m not discussing why my daughter was named Christina. I’m not going to tell you why I saw her only once when she was a few weeks old. You won’t learn why her mother and I never married. You won’t hear what happened when her mother became a Southwest Airlines flight attendant, nor will you hear about my selling John Denver ginseng in the natural food store I owned in Aspen, Colorado. And I’ll omit the details of how and why I finally got in touch with Christina after thirty-something years of not knowing her.
The story I will tell you begins here: Christina is married, the mother of four. I have never held her in my arms, never changed a diaper on her. I am spending the summer in Amsterdam, I’ve rented a 300-year-old canal house with a stunning view of the beautiful Leidsegracht. I send Christina a plane ticket to fly over and spend some time together, get to know who in the world we have become. It’s a little scary, and a little exciting.
Like Christina, I never knew my father, he left when I was two years old, and he never returned. Perhaps, what they say about blood and DNA is true. My father’s ancestors were Dutch. Christina and I decide to visit the island where they came from, which lies a few hours north of Amsterdam. We rent bikes and cycle the island. It is a mid-summer day, but the island is awash in chilling wind, miles of waist-high grass bends in the breeze. I can see why my ancestors harbored a desire to leave the place. Christina and I walk in the sand near the water. We imagine we are characters in an Alex Haley book, returning to this distant land and discovering our Roots. We become friends immediately, I call her Tina. And it’s hard for me to believe, but I begin to feel something like love for this person I have never known. But I’ll stop talking there because that begins to run into the other parts of the story I’m not writing today. I will say this, though: Tina has my mother’s toes.
You can find the Daily Post instructions and other entries here: Scale