Day 277 – …”When you comin’ home?…Dad, I don’t know when…

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Day 277 – …”When you comin’ home?…Dad, I don’t know when…but we’ll get together then…I know we’ll have a good time then.”

Today I decided to take my father to Green Springs Garden in Alexandria. I cannot count the number of Botanical Gardens that I have visited with my Dad. The love of the natural world, and in particular, plants, has been ingrained in me from a very early age. It’s why I became a Landscape Architect. I’ve always loved precision and the unambiguous nature of science. I find comfort in taxonomic order.

We are enigmatic, Dad and I. We have scientific brains but the hearts of artists. My father is almost 90 and still tries to paint and draw while his shaky hands betray him.

Today he was taking photographs for future inspiration. As I watched him sitting on a bench, my heart was breaking. This frail man is the guy we called “The Hungarian Bull”? It is so difficult to watch your parents age and decline in front of your eyes. Every visit since my Mom died, I’ve watched my father’s health erode and his world shrink even further.

On my last visit, my father told me that I was too obsessive about my birding. This, coming from the man who was working on a 1,000 piece puzzle that he was trying to finish in one day! I had to laugh out loud. I’m just like him.

I may regret missing a bird or two in my Big Year. I will never regret the time I devoted to my father.

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