Monday, May 1, 2017

The wandering Tannenbaum daughters.

As people who know me know, the sparkle of my eyes, the thrill in my heart, comes from my daughters, Sarah, 29, and Hannah, 25.

Sarah lives up in Boston and is a doctorate-holding Clinical Psychologist working at a Harvard mental health center and spending everyone of her spare moments studying for her licensing exam--a test she takes on May 18th. 

Sarah's been running long and hard for this degree and license for almost literally ten years. She's nervous, of course, about passing the test, but I'm laying odds she'll sweep through it and then go on her way to her next challenge, which she swears is giving up the United States and starting a life in Costa Rica where the weather is always warm and, according to her, the living is easy.

Hannah, right now is on a 44-foot sailboat, the Te Whio (it's Maori for something or other.) She lit out with three other people from Panama City 25 days ago and has cross the greater portion of the lonely Pacific. She is right now--according to the tracker on their boat--about 150-miles east of landfall in the Marquesas---the islands where Gaugin painted to such effect.

The other night, courtesy of their satellite phone, Hannah sent me an email. They were 600 miles from the closest land, yet somehow a moth had found its way to their boat.

I sent a note back to Hannah within minutes. I told her that her moth reminded me of this from Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro." "Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai "Ngaje Ngai," the House of God. Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude."

No one really knows, not even Sarah and Hannah, certainly not me in my old and dated dotage, what my daughters are seeking. The usual suspects emerge--money, adventure, love, escape.

But I think they seek more than those Maslowian states 

Things, I think, were simpler when I was their age. I had no such options to continue my education or sail the world. For me it was all about paying bills, saving to buy a home, getting the next job. As a consequence, I did less living than my kids are getting to do. Less roving and wandering and finding myself.

I never became the writer I wanted to become, or the university professor wearing tweed on some campus in New England. Even my putative professional baseball career was just 125 games long.

But my kids do as kids should do.

They wonder as they wander.

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