I did as best as I could yesterday to quell paranoia and helped my daughter to move her belongings out of her dorm room. Today she graduated.
So we travelled to her campus among the majestic oak and ancient pine trees and in rolling meadows and hills. The graduation ceremony took place in a natural ampitheater and nature was at her best. We took our seats and waited for it all to begin. A Brass Band, dressed in Tuxedos, entertained the families.
Just before dawn I had had a dream where I was standing outside a tired old house that resembled the home of my boyhood. A robin fluttered and I watched the vivid orange and grey-black feathers. The bird flew into the house and transformed into the earthly form of my deceased father. He took a seat by the window and lit a candle. He looked out at me with knowing eyes. I walked down the front lawn and noticed the seashore. The sea rolled right in front of his house. There was a ragged stump where the waves washed up against. My father sat and waited patiently for the rest of us to come home.
Back at the commencement the graduate's fathers began to look like retired nightclub singers. The grandparents like broken down Vaudevillians and cigarette girls. In front of me Filipino men in tropical shirts, brilliantined hair, pencil-thin mustaches and horn-rimmed glasses conversed in Tagalog. There were goateed southern gents in linen suits and bow-ties and "girls in their summer dresses."
One fellow even wore a straw boater. Thankfully there were no racoon coats and eukeleles among the ivy towers and Pomp and Circumstance.
There were some poor speeches and then they all got up, one by one to receive their degrees. My own daughter's name was called and she was given her diploma. I thought I was going to die! My sorrow was entirely incongruent with the circumstances and I noticed how happy the other families were. But for me it was death. She graduated today and tomorrow she is gone forever. My job is over.
I walked alone to retrive the car in tear stained wingtips. I visited, for the last time, the most serene place on Vassar's campus, The Shakespeare Garden. I viewed the herbs and flowers mentioned in the plays and poems that the Bard had written about.
"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where ox-lips and nodding violets grows....."
I'll do my best to hold it together the rest of the day. There is a dinner in a restaurant later. But throughout the day I could see that sweet old man, sitting in the window, watching the sea roll on and waiting for me to come home.
"...The bird of time has but a short ways to flutter,
And the bird is on the wing."