I've seen some things.
One sweltering New England afternoon I emerged from crawling through a tunnel of thick vines and mosquitoes and pricker bushes to find what I'd been scratching around for since I'd dabbled in community college free thinking civil disobedience, or weed. Walden Pond. Just shimmering all flat out there in the summer sun like a freshly shot star. It was awesome but would've been more awesome with a Slurpee.
Another time I stood outside the house of Mr. Jerry Lee Lewis in Mississippi and read the graffiti on his low wall. Things like "Jerry Lee is The Devil" and "The Killer Kissed My Grits, Tuscaloosa '66". That wall at Graceland is a child's puffy book by comparison. Jerry Lee never came out to say hey but his dogs were scampering all over. Little pom-pom type dogs. Strange but right.
I've seen flipped cars on highways, lonesome bodies laid out in the tall grass. I've seen bald eagles on power lines. Once in a Lawrence pizza joint I watched for an hour as so many clusters of radiant Kansas women with Norwegian features filed into the place in threes and fours that it seemed comically unsettling, like an SNL skit. Deer doing it: I've seen 'em. Chuck Berry mid-song surrounded by a throng of drunken fans he invited up on stage and he yells out "White Pussy!". I've seen it. Don't believe me, it's cool. I know what I saw.
I've seen small steam rise up through golden leaves from a shot squirrel's slit belly. It did appear that I watched a soul ascending. I've seen grown men fight with the belts they pulled out of their filthy pants; fresh scarlet welts outside the Ladbrokes; half-drunk cans of lager waiting for their masters over against the wall. I've seen gorgeous women slip off their tops under werewolf moonlight. I've seen the inside of apartments I knew I'd never see again. I've seen many coffee cups just once.
Leonardo DiCaprio emerging from a Prius in Midtown Manhattan: I've seen it. A Pennsylvania country sky swarmed with meteors: I've seen it. The box Emily Dickinson hid her poems from the whole world in...seen it. The bloody pillow from under Lincoln's mortally-wounded head...seen it. Long lines of women all calling out to me/TO ME! one crisp autumn Euro afternoon: I've seen it (prostitutes, Hamburg Street/St. Pauli). A rainbow from a freezing morning ferry deck...above the Cliffs of Dover...I've seen it. A loved one's mugshot, an eight pound largemouth slamming a buzzbait, my dog walking into the Manhattan skyline...I've seen it.
It's all been so wonderful. So insane. Our eyes get so used to all of that other stuff, regular everyday stuff. So its even more sweet/bittersweet when the pattern is broken up by some awful or fabulous or strange sight. Even if we only realize it all in retrospect. I think so anyways.
But listen up. I have never seen anything as powerful or crazy as watching my five month old daughter, Violet, nibbling on her own toes or squinting and grunting as she poops. How did this happen? I keep asking myself that. I used to think the things I'd seen were badass things to be seeing. My eyes held secrets I was proud of; a pair of used silver pistols. But they hadn't really even begun to see all that much.
This week I'm seeing a coconut-sized head with MY face on it turn to me on the couch and grin when I blurt out goofy sounds.
And oh-the-happy-face-that-shines when I put her up on my knees while I lean back on the couch and sing...
" Violet's on top of Daddy Mountain
Violet's on top of Daddy Hill
Violet's on top of Daddy Mountain
Whatever Violet wants to get.....she will!"
......a dumb made-up song that makes no sense yet perfect sense.
My daughter looks down at me and those lips begin to rise and those cheeks rustle and then it's on. Her smile rushes into the room and down all over me like a tasty mudslide and I just cannot fucking believe how good all this seeing is getting.
It would take a damn good Virgin Mary in robin droppings on the hood of the Honda to even come close.