If Only I Could Show You Now

How it comes back to me. My aging artist father hovering in the shadows, his face intense with wistfulness. “Ah, Per, I just want to show you… If you would just let me show you…”

So often, defending my instinctive need to grow and learn independently, I turned away, ignoring him, hiding from his wish to pile the wealth of his experience on me. “Maybe later…”

His treasure rejected, really he expected nothing else, he slunk off towards his own darkness, clutching himself to himself. Indeed, all too soon, he took his hard-won knowledge with him and disappeared from my life. Ever since, no longer able to ask the questions I shrugged off when I was young, I’ve been reinventing my wheel for myself, as we all must, with no eager, passionate face to cheer me.

And now the haunting is on the other side. I watch, mainly in silence, my very wise and able sons following the stream of their own lives as they, in their own turns, must. Welling up inside me is my father’s longing to share a lifetime’s wisdom that might ease or grace their way. Remembering my own shunting off of the gifts of experience, I stay quiet. Only my heart is whispering, “If only I could show you…”

About Peri McQuay

Peri Phillips McQuay is the author of Singing Meadow: The Adventure of Creating a Country Home, The View From Foley Mountain, a book of nature meditations on her experiences living for 30 years at the Foley Mountain Conservation Area and A Wing in the Door: Life With a Red-tailed Hawk is the story of her adventures with Merak, a human-imprinted hawk, who lived free but saw McQuay and her family as her special people. Also Peri has written numerous essays, articles, book reviews and a weekly column, published in the Kingston Whig-Standard Magazine. Her credits include Country Journal, Harrowsmith, Bird Watcher’s Digest, The Snowy Egret, Seasons, The Fiddlehead, Herizons and Brick.
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