Sunday, March 28, 2010

01001000 01101001

Yesterday's post was all about data. I'd received some information about my great-great grandparents; not information about the person, information about statistics. Names, dates, locations. With one new piece of information, I launched into a full-blown internet investigation researching my typical databases and then turned to my files; making notes, implying relationships and then a study into the history of the community where they were living at that time until I looked at the the clock in the bottom right-hand corner of my computer and noted that it was almost midnight, and I was cold.

Walt has refilled my cup of tea twice with a reassurance that I'll be up in 20 minutes. Almost done for the day. That was around 9:30. He's asleep on the couch. A dog under one arm and another laying across his feet, the house is still.

For Christmas this year, he made me a picture frame. Two pieces of thin lightly-stained oak bent into a half-circle with a quarter-inch slit along the top just the perfect width for displaying a single photograph. On the front, a brass plate engraved: 001100101 00110110. In binary code, that translates to "56." My current age.

Today, the frame holds a picture of my mother. The frame serves as a reminder that I prefer a world that's orderly; one where enough data can set things right: binary. In a binary world, I know when I've made a mistake and can take corrective action. In a black and white binary world, I am safe.

Our home overlooks a lake guarded by the foothills of the Missouri Ozarks. I've chosen not to put curtains or shades on the windows, opting for stained glass transoms. The last vestages of the day's sunlight danced in blues and greens across the room as it reflected off the frame's brass plate. I stopped typing for some time as the sun set and the little frogs outside my window started their night song. The frame was Walt's gentle assurance of love and a reminder that all the shades of the rainbow live between what is black and white. And that life, if lived to its fullest, is not safe.

I know that Ellen is waiting for me, but think tomorrow that I'll try to find out why Andrew and William brought their families to America.

1 comment: