And then there were three

Dear Littlest Prince,

I believe you may be a surprise, certainly not to yourself – that will come later – but to some of my readers, to some of even the most faithful of the kingdomites. We didn’t plan on keeping you a secret and we didn’t mean for it to come to this, where you are here and there are still several people near and dear to us that likely didn’t even know you were coming, and yet here you are, here we all are. This year has been a strange one. Your arrival is most definitely one of the bright spots.

Your brothers, the Little Prince and the Littler Prince, already adore you and, of course, already want to know when you will be able to play. They stayed up late to see you, to say hello to you, literal seconds after you were born. The Little Prince helped cut the umbilical cord. They both made toys for you, each hoping you might grab on to the one they made first. They have helped pick out some of the outfits for your first days. They have watched and asked questions and been present in those days. Yes, they already adore you.

Oh, the magical years you have ahead of you. Three brothers, with worlds to conquer for and against each other. Three brothers with mischief to make and wrongs to right. Three brothers in a family that embraces adventure.

The Queen and I, the humble Jester, promised adventure in our vows to each other, and we have promised it to each of our sons in turn. The adventures won’t always be fun. The adventures won’t always be the ones you want to have. That isn’t the point. That isn’t what the promise is about.

You will see amazing things. You will travel. You will discover. You will learn and love and lose and live. Music will be a part of it. The mountains will be a part of it. The ocean will be a part of it. And you will help us find new paths to walk. We will walk them together, the five of us. For no matter what the adventures bring, we will see them through as a family. That is part of the promise as well.

So, my dear Littlest Prince, welcome to the family. You are loved more than this writer could attempt to capture with mere words. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings, and the day after that, and the day after that…

Love,

Daddy – Matticus – The Jester

Sharp

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I was drawn to the sharpness of these leaves, the tiny points that will scratch the unsuspecting, the unwary.

Life is so interesting sometimes…

Come find rest in the shade of my leafy branches but don’t get too close. I’m here for you but only to a point. This is a common theme in nature, supporting others while protecting self.

I’ll leave it to you to draw any parallels to our current lives in quarantine.

perspective

They are protesting again.”

                “Who?  The humans?”

“Yes, sir.”

                “Do I need to know or can the local council deal with it?”

“I wouldn’t have bothered you at all if you didn’t need to know.”

                “Fine.  What is it this time?”

“It appears they do not care for the improvements we made to one of their buildings.”

                “They are protesting over a building?  That sounds absurd even by their standards.  Which building?”

“It is our Hall of Honors.”

                “The building we put up to give respect to the warriors lost on both sides when we conquered this world?  It honors their fallen as well as our own.  What do they find so offensive about it?”

“Honestly, sir, I think it has less to do about what we’ve done with it specifically and more to do with what it used to be.”

                “Which is?”

“It was called the Vatican.”

                “I’m not understanding why you think this was worth bothering me with.”

“Sorry, I’ll get to the point.  It was some sort of religious place, one of their bigger ones, known around the world even by those who didn’t worship there.  The protestors feel that it should have been preserved for them.”

                “Fine, yes, I get that.  Why do I need to concern myself with it.”

“If left unchecked, based on a study of their histories, this protest could turn into something larger.  They used to take their religions very seriously.  Most of their bloodiest wars were fought with one or another at the heart of the conflict.  It has been many long years, especially by human standards, since the largest of these wars but, as we know, history has a way of coming around again and again, and why take the chance when we can squash this nonsense now.  There is no sense in delaying a response only for this minor protest to have turned into some kind of unifying thing across the historic nations.”

                “Hmm.  I see your point.  What is the consensus?  To return the building to what it was before?  That seems too weak of a move.  That might galvanize them further, would it not?  Raze the sight and put up some sort of plaque to ‘honor’ what once stood there?  A place they could visit if they so wished without being the same beacon as it once was?”

“Actually, sir, we were thinking of just killing these protestors to dissuade the idea of protest at all.”

                “Harsh.  But, yes.  Silence these and that will teach the rest to remain silent.  I agree.  Proceed.”

“It shall be done.”

…..

The other day I saw a picture of three individuals giving the middle finger to Mount Rushmore.  I would have been appalled… as recently as last year.  I have recently learned, however, that Mt. Rushmore was carved out of a place known as Six Grandfathers.  It wasn’t just some rock out in the Black Hills.  It was a special rock on special land that was first stolen and then desecrated.

Some might argue that is just the way things had to be in the name of progress.  I’m not sure I can swallow this argument as I once did and I tried to think of an equivalent transgression going on now, to try and put it in some sort of context.  This example isn’t perfect, of course.  I’m not sure anything could be.

I’m not sure what the solution is, either.  There likely isn’t one, unfortunately.  Not one that all parties could agree on in any case.  So,  I’m not sure why I wrote this or felt it necessary to share it…  Perhaps just to challenge everyone to think of what came before and what, as things always do, might come again.

Some important reading: https://indiancountrytoday.com/archive/native-history-construction-of-mount-rushmore-begins-nNaLMzte1kKPJmtJoLoFZA

 

 

On being thirty-nine

Dear Jester,

I’d say that’s a funny way to start a letter to myself but we all know that it fits.

What an adventure it has been, yes?  Thirty-nine years full of adventures.  Far too many to list out here so perhaps we should just focus on the last little bit.  Perhaps, perhaps.  Though I doubt I can say much now that doesn’t relate to something that came before.  We all know that fits as well.

It’s an interesting thing to reflect on the passage of time, to admire the triumphs over the adventures that went sideways and to bask in the remaining glow of those that went better than expected.  I’ve done far more than I thought I would by this age and far less at the same time.  That’s part of the hypocrisy that is at my core.  Hypocrisy isn’t exactly the right word but it harkens to something I think about a lot.

When I was young I assumed there would be a point when I would stop being a child and would be an adult.  It would be a clear delineation.  One or the other.  And I keep waiting for that to happen.  Yet, here I am at thirty-nine and it hasn’t happened yet so now I have to assume it never will.  Which then makes me wonder about all the generations that came before.  Did they go through life always feeling like both?  Young at heart but wise with age? That’s not quite either but it is close enough for now, especially since this letter is for me and I know what I mean even if I can’t articulate it.

The logical answer is that yes, of course, they felt the same.  But logic isn’t always the easiest thing for me to accept.  And by that I mean, that I grew up on stories with clear distinctions with well defined endings, where the heroes were either children or adults, and have thus romanticized that.  And I feel like neither and both at the same time and that can leave me feeling out of sorts, like something is wrong with me.

Again, logically, I know that nothing is wrong with me and I need to be kinder to myself.  That’s true for all sorts of things.  I have expectations that are likely impossible to live up to and thus constantly disappointing myself even though nobody else holds me to those same standards and expectations.  Knowing this does little to curb the sting of failures and regrets.

That’s not entirely accurate anyway.  I’m hard on myself on some things and super forgiving on others… all part of the hypocrisy that is me…  Not the right word but close enough.  And I know it doesn’t really matter.

I know a couple other things too.  I have a beautiful and brilliant wife and two, going on three, children.  And know that all I really need to be happy in this crazy world is two things: my beloved mountains and family.  I’m blessed with both.

And that’s nothing to scoff off after thirty-nine years.  Or after any amount of time, really.

So, dear Jester, be kind to yourself.  Be patient.  Remember that you know what you need to be happy and let the rest slide to the side.  As best you can.  Some days you’ll do it well.  Some days you won’t.  So it goes.

Now go hug your kids and wife and tell them that you love them, including the tiny one still hidden away, and then dream of the wild places, the high places, the valleys and rivers, and snow-capped peaks that call to you.  You’ll be back among them soon enough.

You’ve got this,

Matticus

On being seven

Dear Little Prince,

What a ride?  What a journey?  What an adventure?

Yes, yes, they aren’t always good adventures… that’s not the point and I think you are now aware enough and old enough to begin to understand that.  We adventure in this kingdom.  Sometimes those adventures are fun.  Sometimes those adventures are work.  Always, always, we do it together and see our way through.  That’s at the core of being part of this family.

First grade and a pandemic.  A growing little brother that adores you and tortures you in equal measure.  Star Wars, Harry Potter (again), bike rides, hikes, math worksheets, and the never ending stream of questions.  They whys, the whats the hows, the whens.  Never ending.  Your curiosity is as fierce as it has ever been, as fierce as your confidence and stubbornness.  It is these qualities that will have you rise up to rule the world one day.  I joke but I’m serious at the same time.

You’re still a weed, getting taller and faster and stronger and learning all the time, sponging in the obscure facts from the history of the world audiobooks you listen to on repeat.  You still struggle with some lessons and most of those are the ones we all struggle with: patience, impulse control, patience, empathy and patience.  Don’t worry overly much about that, though.  In time, you’ll learn these lessons as well as any of the rest of us have.

I know I’m too hard on you sometimes and I hope you can forgive me.  I see this greatness in you and I want to get every bit of it to come out and shine.  So about that patience?  Yes, I know, it is one of my faults as well.  As I said, we all struggle with it at times.  You’ll get there.  I know you will.

You’ll get there flying on your bike and running up those trails.  You’ll get there with your lego learned engineering and artistic skills that already outstrip my own.  You’ll get there with your passion and confidence.  And then you will shine, shine, shine till I go blind from the burning brilliance and my refusal to look away, out of pride and love and my own stubbornness.

You keep being you.  Trust in that.  You’ll see.  You will move mountains, as they say.

Love you kiddo,

Daddy

Matticus

The Jester