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My Father

Jewels of Light and Quiet

In his hands he could hold a dozen golden peaches from the trees he planted. With these same hands he built a house, it sprang from the marrow of his bones, with many gables for the dimensions of his self. He made hawthorn windows and a hearth from stones in the field, each stone like a word belonging to a story from his homeland. He made clipper ships, the kind that sail in the dreams of a young boy Ship's wheel, knees, bowsprit, spars, forecastle, rigging, davits, and deck with pencil width planks, sails like white clouds and an anchor made of hope. He built these ships with his ocean hands.

I could see in his eyes the memories of the island in the Baltic where he was born, white storks flying low in the mist over the sea, skeins of eider duck, shoals of herring, the rock gardens, birch trellis of wisteria, the fishing boat named Diana, clusters of lingonberry, a Swedish song, his mother Alida, his father John.

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