42 on 4/2, and content to observe the world

Apr 2, 2012

Yesterday, after a tiring day outside in the yard tending the plants (I moved the white ginger to a wetter, better place in the backyard flower garden), edging the lawn and painting the porch railing, Erin and I were sprawled on the couch watching an episode of Friday Night Lights. Oliver was still awake — we’d been visited by Erin’s brother, Michael, and his family, and the weekend’s activity had him off his sleep schedule — nestled into my shoulder, where he watched for scenes of the football games on the television.

When my throat started to itch, I made a soft cough. Oliver looked over to Erin.

“Water,” he asked, and Erin handed him his sippy cup, which he fluidly handed back to me. It was the sweetest, most observant gesture from this little boy — he turns two at the end of the month — and I hugged him even tighter.

There’s a certain contentment that comes from observation. Oliver went to sleep soon after he’d shared his water cup with me, and Erin and I fell asleep before the episode was finished.

This morning, after a loving birthday hug from Erin and wishes from Anna and Malia, I stopped by the coffee shop to write in my journal — my first entry since my trip to London last fall — and to enjoy a strong latte. Whether it was the caffeine from the espresso or the I’m-so-glad-to-be-alive-on-my-birthday attitude I woke into, I’ve gone through the day even more closely observing the world around me. I’m looking at little details in the buildings and plants and people I’m passing.

On my walk to the Gothic Bookshop to pick up a copy of The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, I recorded this snippet of conversations and sounds:

This may be my special day, but what I’ve observed today reminds me that I’m one small part of an immense and active cosmos. I’m content with that.

Perhaps 42 is the answer to the universe, after all.

Anton Zuiker

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