Many disappointments – and one bright hope


It’s time to look backward and forward. 

Now, I am one who doesn’t like slogans, but I came across one I did like over the summer.  

“Love Where You Live” has a double meaning:  Be patriotic, loyal to your country, state, or space, and, plus, maybe, find people to love close by, perhaps the neighbors you meet on your daily strolls.    

I kind of go for both messages.

As I gaze in the rearview mirror of my recent moons, I find more than a few disappointments.  We can’t travel much. My college reunion was canceled.  My family rendezvous was impossible, and I missed seeing my children and granddaughters.   

But wait!  Something wonderful came into my life: the arrival of my grandson, Noah Charles! 

In our Torah, Noah is told to save every living thing and the future of all lives, not just  his own people.  He was born to love where he was, and he was instructed to build a boat and trust the wisdom of the birds, like all sea voyagers.

(When I was a boy, I would use a nutcracker to make the hull of an ark from a walnut shell.  Then I would paste a paper triangle on a toothpick to make a sail, install it, and float my wee work of art and dinghy design in the bathtub for the weekly ritual, along with my brother Charles, who was called Chick, or even Chicky.) 

So, my grandson’s mission will be, in a way, to work for a world worth saving for all Creation, not just for human profit and use. 

I look around here, within the limits of my pandemic pathways, at Middlebridge Road and over Route 138 to Newport, and I see deer, otters, foxes, egrets, rabbits and chipmunks galore.  They have lost their habitat as “developers” – really destroyers – have constricted the pursuit of happiness of the wild and free creatures blessed in Genesis. 

These creatures have become the foes of our gardens, the “pests” we poison or trap or run over in our rush to judgment.  Hear that, Noah? 

Noah’s sister, 2-year-old Naomi, loves to visit our backyard and make friends with our toy statues, and to stare in admiring wonder at the hummingbirds, honeybees,  “fake” hummingbird moths, and the yellow-and-orange butterflies at the purple bush that draws them into a community of Creation.   

I had proposed a mini-cruise around our Bay to visit the dark rock called Despair Island, but it never took place – yet another item on my list of disappointments.  

But I look ahead with hope – may the moons ahead hold bright moments like candles, lighthouses, torches, to lead us along little pathways in the landscape of loving where we are and where we are going.

MIKE FINK ( teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design.