To hesitate before one speaks. To gauge the territory recently trodden and that ahead. The value of collecting. This is patience.

I think I am an excellent observer. I study people. I tend to have a good idea how a converstion will transpire with a given individual. I have a good sense of what subjects are comfortable and which effect bristle at the nape.

I study.

All the while, I scrutinize, organize, compartmentalize. I imagine I have a file drawer of information in the form of nuances, reactions, and unconscious gestures for each person I know that magically is accessible upon reuniting.

My collection has tremendous worth. By analyzing the situation and the person, I can extract as much as I want and give as little as I’d like – all without offense, if I’m eloquent. And patient.

Sounds like a beast in wait of its prey.

When the niceties are stripped away, isn’t every conversation a give and take? I see nothing wrong in using judgment to develop a conversation. Yet, somehow, the description I set before you is repulsive. Is a conversation ever completely valueless to one of its participants?

Do we not all weigh carefully (how careful depends on the collaborator) what we say to a given person? Why?

When we don’t, do we not regret? Why?

Must we live off each other and wrestle with this host/parasite paradox?

I will be patient and listen for the answer…because then I will have gained more knowledge for my file.


Parenting from scratch

I have parented from scratch. That is to say, I have attempted to impart on my children the values I deem most precious: learn, love, explore, commit.

I did not take a poll and vote on what the majority believe to be the current temperature for moral standards. I continued to gather useful ideas, of course, but my main themes have stood solid. I trusted my instincts and stood by them. It has not been easy. It has not been completely successful…yet.

I think with any good recipe made from scratch, I have to be patient. I have to keep an eye on it, but DON’T lift the lid or open the oven door. I have to rely on the purity of the fresh ingredients and allow them to work their magic ever so carefully. When time takes its course, the final product is heaven-sent.

I also know that if any one ingredient is sour, the recipe collapses. No stirring or watering down will do. It’s a total loss. I spend a great deal of time wondering which element I contributed could have destroyed what I nourished these many years. I hope it will pull through.

I want to see it rise and blossom and feed the world.

I have to wait.