Return of the Sun



We went to the Morrison Planetarium the other day, where despite Whoopie Goldberg’s reassuring voice, I felt the usual claustrophobia at the limitlessness of space and yet the finity of our Sun. My daughter was scared most of the time, but we’re not exactly sure why.

It’s my birthday tomorrow and I’ve been wondering what my daughter, and generations to come, will find (and make) of these digital scribblings then of the past. My domain will have expired, and likely my WordPress blog underneath it too. Will there even be domains anymore? What of the Internet itself? All those pictures on Flickr? And What of Facebook? Will my Twitter archive be available?  What about those picture books we’ve printed from Flickr and the blogs we’ve turned into Blurb books? Seems like the newer things are, the shorter they last.  Will there be no hard-bound dusty spined volumes in our girl’s future? Perhaps nothing but an old Google cache — maybe even accessible by some odd unforeseen device such as a private air, space, and time machine… There’s a thought.

It’s odd to know that something entirely new – something inconceivable at present – will then exist to provide the history and context.  As we stand over the brink of one year and look into another, I marvel at how it is that sometimes we can’t really know — and sometimes we know better only in retrospect.

And on that note… I feel it’s impossible to wrap up the year 2009 on its last day, but after the passage of time I begin feel a little clearer about that other old year, 2008.

That was the year we lost Prop 8; we got married, and we also got banned from marrying.  It was the fuel for the worst of days in which I wish we never got up and fought so that people could be so legally ugly to us, and call us psychotic and worse, hurt us, and blame us right here in our homes.  It was perhaps the set-up that led to Question 1 in Maine, confusion in New York and New Jersey and elsewhere, and most profoundly atop much hard work, strife and sadness within the LGBT organizations while “Protect Marriage” rubs its hands in mean glee.

And then I shake my head and I see it there — a brief glimpse of the future, in the light by the sea where we got married.  I see the light in our family and in our friends’ eyes. I see the light in the field across which my daughter runs, stretching towards the brightness of the moving sun, and I know we’re never going to pack it all up and go home, because we LIVE HERE, in this warmth of love and kindness, together with our friends and family, in the light by the sea.  No longer is it the year of failure and loss, but it continues to be the year meanness loses and kindness follows the sun, as day follows night, every single moment of every single day.

I asked my daughter if she learned anything new after our visit to the stars of the Morrisson Planetarium. “I learned that the Sun is a star,” she said wonderously. Twinkle twinkle, little star. To my wife and child and family and friends and community: All the best wishes as one year switches to the next.  You light up my life.

And we begin again.


Today at work, a colleague originally from Russia told me the reason nobody uses those templates we spend lots of time creating is because they are temporal – from the root of “template” – never meant to be permanent. I responded with two or three feeble words in Russian — “spassiba” and the rest.

It’s with this in mind that I consider the word “transition” and attempt, in my mind, to make it into some sort of fun trip – like “transit” – to somewhere fun instead of through an awkward and perhaps scary time (unless you’re on Muni, which lately has taken to a more peculiar usage of the transitive form).

Nothing, we’re told, is permanent, but to my daughter, embarking in a couple of short weeks on a major transit from preschool to kindergarten, I want to represent nothing less than my permanence to her. If you’re scared, hold fast: it’s an exciting time and you will do so well, and Mama and Mommy will always be there for you.

As I even think this her body grows an inch, she skyrockets, learns more in one minute than I have all year, sees things anew, and has in fact permanently brightened my life.

There is no template I can create for this. In one single instant, flashing by, I understand life.

The Rhinoceroses -- in 2008

What Year is This Again?

The news from Philadelphia today — specifically from the Valley Swim Club — is not very pretty: Pool Boots Kids Who Might “Change the Complexion”:

“When the minority children got in the pool all of the Caucasian children immediately exited the pool,” Horace Gibson, parent of a day camp child, wrote in an email. “The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately.”

Minorities not allowed? Really?

My girl went to a summer camp last week here in San Francisco. She was nervous about fitting in but the people were all great, and it turned out to be a great experience for her. I can just imagine the heartache and confusion she would have endured if others got up and left right when she walked in — if (so-called) authority figures told her she was not allowed.

Be sure to watch the video at the news link above. I wish I could take all of these kids and give them a great big hug… or at least a place to swim.

Watch news coverage below.