I started out today as many of late, shaking off the late in the “rest” REM that tries to hug me tight, luring with lucid opportunities to climb to Orion’s Belt or dive to the deepest trench in the Atlantic- reality check- the Pacific is still receiving chemo treatments from Japan.
Throughout my life I have found comfort in articles of clothing: a favorite pair of Umbros (or Sambas for that matter), my Joker Converse from the 1989 Batman film, my soon to be retired on the way to fitting mumuish baseball style Stealy and so on.
During the course of the last three months I have begun pulling out older clothes, hoping to find an article or two that wasn’t mangled by the journey outward.
I unearthed a piece of clothing so central in me that it was jarring to see it- My Ernest Hemingway T-shirt I purchased in the Spring of 1990.
It was not only there, but in remarkable shape, sure, some wear, a few holes, but in wearable shape(my definition).
My sophomore year I had Brother Fred Dihlman for English class. He had me hooked from the first class when he had us diagram the first sentence of To Kill A Mockingbird–
When he was nearly thirteen my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.
1984 he had a class period where people monitored the classroom from every corner and reported on infractions being committed by people in the class.
He was always trying to get us engaged in literature in ways that were inclusive- numbers together, engrossed in learning.
The only Hemingway assigned that I recall was in essay format. Probably due to this, I was headstrong on reading The Old Man and the Sea on spring break.
While on vacation what did I find but a portait of Ernest on a shirt, marlin surrounding the portrait, with a quote from The Old Man and the Sea. Vacation souvenir acquired.
Literature is what lead me through receiving my expensive advanced piece of paper, sure. But literature has enriched my life beyond measure. It is tattooed to my soul.
This morning was teetering between wallow and centered. As I assembled my clothes for the day I reached far back into the T-shirt section of the deep bottom drawer (Atlantic, again) I pulled Mr. Hemingway and that giant marlin from the back.
I felt the sense of serenity and being I experienced on 10/12/13 waiting for Pearl Jam to start, no misplaced urgency, engaged. I felt calm. They played a stellar opening three, Lowlight sandwiched between two beauties, Pendulum and Sometimes. It was a night that sparked me.
And so I lumbered in. I lead with the best I had. It was enough.