in a book he bought at a yard sale today. Lined paper, blue ink, good handwriting. There are many tourists (himself included) about the place. Driving up the peninsular more cars have license plates from somewhere other than Maine. Mister Chu’s rental makes him feel as though a local and therefore, perhaps, immune to the needs of the police to raise money. Anyway, this is the letter (the book itself is a biography of a French man the writer mentions, Saint-Exupéry):
November 19, 2002
It seems true now that every passing, every death, is connected in some way. I’m sure such empty certainty comes from our new parenthood colliding with a lack of personal theology. One must make sense of things, in whatever peculiar shape one’s own sense is finally made, be it encoded within you from your earliest days or descended upon, seized, by a lack (perceived sometime later in life) of meaning, of purpose even.
As I read (in the halflight this morning, strong Irish tea to one side, baby belching but feeling better to the other) of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry disappeared in his plane, over desert or sea, his fate by us unknown, I found myself thinking of his myth and how he too, you too, once was a baby and young, mostly helpless, and was treated as one, and -hopefully- loved as one. My father was also, your father too. A bundle of creases as yet unhappened. A soul, secular or otherwise, yet to know nor fight his corner.
Perhaps it is a blessing that we do not hold our babies knowing them as men or women grown. But I also find it instructive to think that we were also so held, many of us to struggle in the world, some to falter, some to burst the bubbles of success, others to eclipse, to overcome, to do well, to survive, to distrust, to become apart, to be prisoners, or lights for others along the way that we, in our simplicity, never today imagine.
And, after all of that, this evening I stood out on my New Jersey porch smoking a cigarette, as one rightly must in these days of largely unformed lungs, and saw a perfect full moon. Reflexively, I took out the silver from my pocket, the nickels and dimes, and turned them over, as the Romanies always suggested, and thought of my father who, while believing in no accepted theology or system, has also always done.
The chance of good luck, even by we Godless, must never be cheaply ignored.
Inevitably, perhaps, Mister Chu finds this reassuringly familiar, but it begs many questions. Primary amongst these (to Mister Chu) is not who wrote this so much as what are they doing now and how have they held up? Have they been at all lucky?