Father’s Day and the Passage of Time
One of the happiest days of my life was on Father’s day. I was seven so it must have been just before I turned 8 in 2004.
We went to Cocoa Beach, where my dad had lived for a few months as a baby while my grandfather was working at Cape Canaveral, though I believe it was called Kennedy at the time.
It was just a truly pleasant day at the beach, just playing in the golden sunlight and warm Atlantic surf. I remember my dad and I stepping on what felt to be raw steaks that would move out from under us, only later learning these were sting rays. Not thinking of the past and not knowing what was to come, and not caring either. Just happily, contentedly, being and living in the moment with my family.
I found my first watch that day in the surf. While wading, I felt something like seaweed touch my ankle, and when I reached down to figure out what it could be, there it was: a digital Timex Expedition. Now I have moved on to mechanical watches mostly, but I loved that watch and used it until it died years later.
I did not realize it at the time, but in a way that watch was my passing from not knowing or caring about the passage of time to being dictated by it. The rigid schedules of modern life, of passing youth, of 9-to-5’s. I did not realize at the time that there would be only 12 more fathers days, nor that by the time they were up I’d have no more living male ancestors. Of mono no aware, of mortality — memento mori. — of “the leaves that are green turn to brown.”
And though I did love the watch, I can only hope that this Monkey’s Paw timepiece left the misplaced owner free from the fetters of the hour hand in its own way.
Anyhow, if you are a father, please enjoy your day Sunday. And if anyone’s father is still around, at least give them a call and spend some time with them. Family, especially physical presence and face to face conversation are highly undervalued in this modern age (though the pandemic has started to show people that, I do think we have yet to fully embrace it, especially the under 40 crowd). Have “Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben,” or reverence for life — for those of your family, and for your own.
Though the above may read grimly, I in no way intended this. I guess I just want to remind people to enjoy the time they have, and to live the joys of life when they can, as there is “a time to laugh and a time to weep.” And as for laughing, “I swear it’s not too late.”