Every morning I go downstairs and sigh when I see the tray table beside my father’s chair. It’s a mess.
I tidy it — but I know my organization will erode to disorder by evening.
The problem these days is that he has taken to playing the boombox my brother got him last year. My father doesn’t understand the difference between a DVD and a CD, or, for that matter, between the radio setting on the boombox and the CD setting. He needs help, but often won’t ask for it. The CDs and their empty cases cover his tray table.
Whenever he puts a CD called “Scottish Tranquility” in, we have this conversation.
Dad: This music is so mournful.
Me: It’s supposed to be peaceful.
Dad: There are no words!
Me: It’s instrumental.
Dad: I understand that, but where are the words?
Me: Instrumental means it’s just the instruments.
Dad (pointing to the CD case): But it lists the names of the songs.
Me: Yes, the songs still have names.
Dad: This music could put you to sleep.
Me: That’s why it’s called Scottish Tranquility.
Dad: Can you put something else on? This is terrible.
It really isn’t terrible. It’s soothing and quiet, just what my soul needs.
This morning, at 4:30 AM when I got up for work, I looked at the mess on his table. Open books, half-done crossword puzzles, CDs, and empty cases.
“Why is everything always out of place?” I said out loud, frustrated, longing for that Scottish Tranquility.
Half an hour later, when I walked outside, I was pleased to see the moon in its proper place. It silhouetted the barn and reflected off the road. A restart to a messy day.
Something about that sight gave me peace.
The moon is always right where it should be.
And it was gorgeous in Bosnia.
I can’t count on the moon to be in the same place every night.
But it will never be misplaced.
It may not be as reliable as the sun — rising in the east, setting in the west — but it’s there.
All I have to do is look.
Ah, the Sea of Tranquility.