I’m not sure how I ended up with them; it could be that he still had them in his pile of things when he passed away, or he may have left them at the house when he moved out and my parents finally split up for good. I was seventeen. That was a bad day.
They are mine, now, and occasionally I take them out and look through them. When I was a little girl, we took them with us on trips to Waterton National Park in Alberta. We’d drive the three hours or so up there and wander around Red Rock Canyon and Waterton Lake. My parents used to feed the deer, potato chips. It was the 70’s and people thought that was okay, back then.
They are Tasco Model # 318 (the binoculars, not the deer) and they’re 7 x 35 zoom. They’re big, kinda clunky and I can get something a whole lot better and smaller for pretty cheap, today, but these are special. They hold memories that can’t be replaced; those that I keep sacred in my heart.
I still have the little plastic cups for the eye pieces and the lenses. I think, somewhere on this metal and plastic relic, my dad’s fingerprints might even be buried beneath years of mine, my mom’s and possibly my two siblings. Dad’s been gone for twenty-seven years, now. That’s a lot of finger grease.
Today the fading evening sun was tracing a lovely orange-pink outline on cotton candy clouds. They were in the distance and I wanted to see them better. I love clouds…rows and flows of angel hair, right?
So I got out my dad’s binoculars and went to it. I wasn’t disappointed. Fiery apricot sunbeams lit up the sky with sheets of warmth embedded in the indigo of this afternoons rain. It was magical.
Time is a funny thing. I know it was so long ago that he held them in his hands and I remember he got them, one year, for his birthday. Yet…I can still hear his laugh as if it were yesterday and I can see him squinting into the lenses of the eye holes, lit pipe in-between his teeth as he smiled into the distance. He loved this gift and we took them with us, every vacation.
I wonder if dad every looked at clouds through this spyglass. I wonder what he saw if he did…