greetings from beyond

Letters my father wrote to his family in the 1950s.

I love stories of mysterious communication-- messages from the anonymous, letters from the departed. I've been running into a lot of them lately. The stories, and the messages.

As You Like It is being performed at both Wesleyan and Quinnipiac this month. That's the one where exiled Rosalind, disguised as a boy, finds poems written to her on the trees of the Forest of Arden. The image is so wonderful that I put poems on trees in some local forests myself, just because it should be done now and then.

Another is Eurydice, a play by Sarah Ruhl I saw recently at Yale Rep (thanks to Eliza B!). I fell so deeply into the performance that it's still haunting me a week later. It was unearthly beautiful- the story, of course, of Eurydice, who returns to Hades after her husband Orpheus looks back while rescuing her. But also, a gorgeous flooding set, a bath house tiled with paper letters, and the most poetic speech.

Before Eurydice dies the first time, her dead father writes letters of advice and love to her from the underworld, and sends them up into the world of the living, though she doesn't see them. Later Orpheus sends her letters of music of despair from above, stuffing them into the ground.
I'll give this letter to a worm. I hope he finds you." The letters in the play manifest in the world they were sent to on actual sheets of paper. But it got me thinking. What if all these synchronicities, these funny coincidences that feel so much like personal correspondence, were actually messages from my lost loves? My grandfathers? My grandmothers? My friends? My father?

My father died when I was too young to be upset about it, and probably due to some inventive adult telling me so, I grew up with the idea that I was a lucky girl because I had a parent in heaven, a kind of personal ambassador to God. A dad with maybe more influence and better connections then other kids had who was always looking out for me. What if I decided to believe that now as if it were a fact? What if every time I get a funny feeling when I overhear a conversation with my name spoken, I decide to believe that it's my father talking to me? What if I just decided to believe every time I hear a plane that it's my father saying hello? That would be a daring way to live, indeed.

With this in mind on Sunday I left yellow roses, the kind he liked to give my mother, in my favorite place in the city. As I did I heard a jet, invisible above the clouds.