Drawn in water

In 1821, English poet John Keats told a friend he didn’t want his name on his tombstone. He wanted engraved the words “here lies one whose name was writ in water.” He died not long after that, and his friend, true to his word, saw that Keats’s wish was carried out.

I got to thinking about this last night. My kids and I had gone to the car after Connor’s karate class. It was dark and drizzly, a lovely western Oregon fall evening. As Aster and I walked hand-in-hand to the car, Connor had gone on ahead.

“Daddy!” he called out. “Come see my art!”

When I got there, I saw that he had drawn the figure above on his window. Finger oils and water. The movement of little hands, alive with the knowledge that we are here to make and learn.

This morning, you could still see the faint outline of his art on the car window. I don’t know how long it will last. But that’s not what matters. How long it lasts is beyond us. Out of our control.

What matters is that he made it, and knew he wanted to, needed to.

It’s a good reminder for me too.

Everything I do? Writ in water.

But that’s not what matters.

It’s that while I’m here, I wrote. I made. I did.

Because that’s what my little fingers are alive with knowing to do too.