Washing Up.

Greensboro, Vermont

Late Friday afternoon, I swing by work for a few things and bring a friend. The day has cooled, and the evening is perfect in an August storybook way. Afterward, we stop by the beach where a few families are lingering with kids. The parents are clearly ready to head home. The children reluctantly leave the warm lake.

My friend and I sit on enormous pieces of donated granite that function as benches, admiring the spill of sunset over the serene lake, when an acquaintance drives up. He’s there for his daily swim. We kick around a few random exchanges, and somehow the conversation bends around to money. He tells us that his brother was a golf caddy in high school. Every night, he washed his tips in the sink and then ironed the bills.

We laugh and then swim. But later, driving home, I think about the teenage boy, decades ago, scrubbing up his tips, making them new. What was he thinking? And where did that take him?

Home again, the crickets sing mightily around my house. A moon hangs in the sky, and the constellations emerge. All that shadowy summer night, so much infinity.

A few lines from Brad Kessler’s novel North:

The Noonday Demon was invented at the monastery. You had to plumb the depths to reach the heights… Depression [at the monastery] is impossible to avoid; it’s where God enters — through the wound.

— Brad Kessler

7 thoughts on “Washing Up.

  1. Beautiful piece! I was at the Columbia River with my kids this week and became one of those parents clearly ready to leave. But, only after 3 good hours in the heat and the fun of watching my kids swim in the river and leap from a stump and dig and build with the impermanent wonder of sand.

    Washing the dollars reminds me how much my kids treasure the bills and coins in their small allowance. They sort and count and leave their tiny fortunes lying on bedroom carpets and that is much of the fun at that age.

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