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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Infinite Calculus

There was a process for everything.

I remember the long languid early summer afternoons in mathematics class. The teacher would drone and the cicadas would chirrup outside the window. The equation would be chalked on the board and the intricate steps of the logic would be parsed out of it. I'd look out the window and remember her. Her equations were no less perfect.

The chair was placed just so. The toy was brought. The neighbors waved, and got their wave in return. The sun was in the right place to warm the side yard. When the button lost its moorings, there was a moment of recognition, and as ineluctable as anything Newtonian, the tray was produced; the color of the thread adduced and deduced; the problem solved. She'd always hum while she did anything; not musical, exactly --like a machine that is running just right. It was mesmerizing.

Her hand was delicate, but strong and practiced. Her whole life was like a roller at the summer beach. Quietly moving forward. The power was in it, but not made evident by any crash or foam. It was the residue of a million unseen forces distilled to an inevitability. You sensed very young that it would be very difficult to swim against its force, and pointless; so you turned your face to the sun and rode it instead.

I never understood why she introduced such a variable as me into her life's equation. But after a while I realized that such a mind as hers could not be satisfied with simple arithmetic.

1 comment:

FamouslyUnknown said...

A mother's love is as mysterious as it is commonsensical -- and that's what makes it incomprehensible to all but another mother, and God.