Radius:  A Geometry of Fathers

Radius: A Geometry of Fathers

Occasionally, a caring presence comes to me while I sleep. He seems to be male in spirit. It’s always the same presence, and over the years, I’ve come to think he watches over me, a sort of father. The encounters seem more a vision than a dream. I’m left with a sense of the man, but the narrative details fade. Lately, I’ve been thinking about the word radius—the straight line between the center of a circle and a point along its circumference. Human lives are bounded by circles—family, community, nation, planet. I see the hate and trouble around us, and I chafe at how limited I am in my reach and my ability to lessen it. I think about my immediate sphere—my family and friends—and don’t know if I should feel happy for the closeness of it, or guilty over how small my circle is.

Love Song, to My Father

Love Song, to My Father

My father, Oiva, has been gone from this world for five years, and I think of him every day. When I got married, in my early twenties, my husband and I gave our parents matching wood-and-metal wall ornaments in the shape of a cross, and my folks hung theirs on the wall in their bedroom, where it stayed for nearly forty years. I took it down from its nail when Mom sold the farm after Dad passed, and she told me to take it—it was mine. Now, at the start of each day, I touch that cross and speak aloud to my dad. It’s a ritual, a sort of love song to my father. There’s something of him there, in the metal and wood: his spirit, absorbed over decades.

Donna Salli - Seated - Color

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