Last Friday was the one-month anniversary of my dad’s passing. I’d recently cut my hair from upper-back to nearly-shaved, saving it in a ceramic bowl someone had given me; and I’d decided to commemorate my dad’s passing by distributing the hair into the Arkansas River, which is just a couple of blocks from my apartment. I posted this event on FaceBook, inviting sixty-some folks.
The days leading up to last Friday were overcast, snowy, and cold. Friday, though, was sunny and warm[er]. Still, when the 6PM start-time came around, it was 18 degrees. When I arrived at river, two folks were already there, and then two more joined us, very shortly after. I had my laptop begin playing the John Denver song my dad loved, picked up the bowl with my hair, and made my way carefully down the bank, into the river, and cautiously made my way to the spot where I’d let the river carry my hair (eventually, theoretically) to my folks’ home-city of San Antonio.
The writer in me realizes there’s a story, here. Maybe, for High Country News, where I’ve already published an essay about Dad and this same river. Maybe somewhere else. At the absolute very least, I need to write this story—having it published is a whole other affair, albeit, one I’ll be pursuing.
Sometimes, our actions have to step in for when there are no words.