On Places and Ancestry

Dear Portia,

You and I spent some time on the swing today. We don’t spend our mornings there anymore as much as we used to mostly because we barely get in when you decide you want to get out again. When still, even when in motion, the slow pace makes you squirmy and I wonder how much megavolts you actually have in that small body of yours especially since you churn fuel more than a power plant eats coal. Now there’s an issue worthy of a different blog altogether.

This morning, you took your pre-breakfast snack on our swing and for once managed to keep at rest for more than a few minutes. There’s a lot of history in that swing, little girl. Children. Grandchildren. Great-grandchildren, and now you, all paying homage to this monument of a sort with broken arms, bumped heads, stuck fingers and an overwhelming sense to go faster and higher than anyone else. Back in my college days, a granduncle of mine once asked what exactly the course Fine Arts (which was the course I took) entailed, and naively I tried to make him understand by oversimplifying it. ‘Well, we design and we paint.’, I said. And the morning after, he came home with two gallons of paint and several brushes so I can practice my ‘painting skills’ on the swing. That summer in 2006, I spent the whole summer trying to make this grunge of a swing into tidy white. That was impossible of course because I didn’t know enamel required a thinner combination for it to stick, so I spent days and weeks on end trying to paint the swing over and over again.

I love this place of wood and nail. It reminds me of a happy childhood. Once, I dreamed of providing you with a swing similar to this so you can experience the same happiness. But I’d rather not. My memories are not yours. And it would do no good trying to replicate an object just as it would do no good trying to replicate a feeling. Because I realized what I really want you to inherit is this sense of ancestry. This swing is a portal, a divine connection to someone who, even generations before, loved you enough to craft it. Enjoy the ride.

As always,


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