Monday, February 16, 2009

That cheeky grin ...

I've never met anyone who lived in the moment quite the way my dad did. Even in his 60s he was still a big kid at heart, delighting in the little things, always excited by the possibilities...

Dad was the one who would cheer a convoy of wedding cars passing on the street, stop and talk to anyone and everyone about their bicycle, motorbike, car, boat, clothing, artwork, house, work, haircut, you name it. He was cheeky and irreverent, comical and lighthearted, quiet and thoughtful. From him I learned important lessons about being alive in the world, about seeing and learning and constant discovery. I learnt about generosity, not just in a material sense, but generosity of spirit. Dad rarely, if ever, criticised others, and he had an uncanny knack for finding the positives in any situation. Although I'm sure he often worried about me and some of the choices I made in life, he respected my decisions, willingly acting as a loving, supportive sounding board when I sought guidance.

What I hope I've learnt most from my dad is a certain way of being in the world. I loved his curiosity, his playfulness, his delight and interest in everything. I remember visiting him on Rarotonga several years ago. He had built a wonderful telescope when he was studying astrophysics, and he was certainly bitten by the stargazing bug. I don't blame him either, 'cause the starscape above that little island in the Pacific is absolutely breathtaking, shimmering millions in a sky of blackest velvet. At around midnight on the first or second night of my visit, I heard a tapping at the glass door of my bedroom:

"Juddie! Juddie! Do you want to come and look at the stars?!". I jumped out of bed, and sure enough, the sky was more brilliant than I could have imagined. We sat out on the deck, taking it in turns to peer through the telescope lens, until eventually we got sleepy and retired to bed. Then, at 2 o'clock ... "Juddie! Come and look at this!!". - Up I popped again, and was thrilled to see the rings of Saturn come into focus as Dad twiddled with dials to tweak the telescope for me. Amazing. We zoomed in on detailed sections of the moon, exploring the craters with their vast canyons and mountains. I was pretty impressed by my dad's telescope-making skills, but after a while I needed to head back to bed, where I slept quite soundly....
...until.... at 4 o'clock ..... "Juddie!!! D'you want to come and have a look at this???" No thanks Dad. Much as I love you .....

Even as he got older, Dad never subscribed to the concept of slowing down. I know that in the past few months he had been passionately learning about geology, anatomy and mathematics, taking lectures through a remote university study program. As well as this he spent his time renovating houses, building furniture, working with Tai on their property, caring for Grandma, reading up on politics, world news, scientific studies and boatbuilding techniques, messing about in boats, cycling around Melbourne, patronising farmers markets, bookshops, film festivals, music shops and art installations, barracking for his beloved Kangaroos, planning the expansion of sustainable energy generation systems throughout the Cook Islands, preparing for travel ...

Dad wasn't going to let life pass him by.

6 comments:

Taccolina said...

Juddie, your Dad sounds like a very special, inspiring, lovely soul. Your post shows how much you see and value that - and that's how it's a part of you, too. Big hugs and best wishes.

CurlyPops said...

Your dad sounds like such a wonderful man. Reading that post makes me think that you are amazingly so much just like him.

Leonie said...

Oh wow, he sounds like he was such a lovely man. You are so lucky to have known such an amazing person. So wonderful that you have so many happy memories.

m. heart said...

it sounds like your dad was someone who enjoyed life to the fullest and inspired others to do the same.

isoinpapu said...

I´m smiling as i read this. You are one lucky girl.

Jamie & Mel said...

Beautiful thoughts, expressed with so much love. Thanks for sharing them with us J.

... also ...

Related Posts with Thumbnails