Your Project Deserves Good Words

Carl, A Father

If and when the lake dries up, and trust me it will, I want you to walk out to the center where the mud puddle is, past the sun-perch bones sleeping along the unlotioned skin of the newly exposed clay, past the tractor tire, the abandoned treble hooks, and the frayed leather boot, and when you get to the drain of the lake where the last remaining water fights the sun and the thirsty earth, push your hand under the muck. Force it in until the mud touches your nose and you feel the rusted edges of a tobacco tin. Pull it to the surface. There is a small latch near the snuff-man's beard on the topside of the canister. Open it.

Plastic bag. Paper. Handwriting. RC bottle cap. Ozzie Smith rookie card. Sixties model Corvette Hot Wheels. A monogrammed New Testament. Swiss Army knife.

This is it. The reason I am who I am and did what I did.  This is what they'll come for. Simple letters. A handful of a childhood. And when they come you can show them the notes I made in 1 Peter and the rusted axle of the toy stingray, and the lake with its horse-shoe house lights at midnight and the moon, giving enough glow to get this life out of the ground. Show them the life I dug up a hundred times. One hundred nights. One hundred droughts.

Now it's yours. Do with it what you will, but don't just bury it.