When I was a small child, I noticed a different kind of feeling for each day of the week. A particular distinction stood out between weekdays and weekends, when my father was home. A lifelong early riser, I was awake when my father started early on Saturday mornings to do work around the home or in the yard, and I would watch as he did grown-up, daddy sorts of things. On occasion, he would take me with him to fuel up his 1969 Dodge Dart or buy molding at the lumber store.
For some reason, these mornings in my memory were usually gray days, the harsh rays of the sun diffused and the cast of the road and landscape taking on a serene dignity. I enjoyed sitting in the front seat, even if the ride were short, even if the purpose mundane. It was Saturday; I was with my father.
Today, my father suffers from kidney failure and must receive dialysis three days a week. On Saturday mornings, I rise as early as ever and drive just over an hour to wake him, prepare a breakfast for the two of us, and drive him just under a mile to the clinic where he receives his treatments. During his session, I return to his house and sit at the kitchen table to do a few hours of work. By afternoon, my brother, who lives with my father, calls to let me know whether he will finish work early enough for us all to have dinner together.
My father is exhausted after I bring him home from the clinic, but I cannot help but suspect that he, too, sees Saturday as a day apart. It’s the day when I come over early to drive him to dialysis, and when he often has supper in the evening at the table with his two sons.
I enjoy my Saturdays at my father’s, but for some reason, I am particularly fond of the ones when the sun remains behind the clouds and the road runs calmly beneath my car. I wonder whether Dad notices the sky and the scenery as he sits in the front seat of my car, his cane lying across his lap.
Nothing soothes like an overcast Saturday,
When the vibrant colors of a livid workweek
Must flee the sky and landscape in favor
Of a placid blandness seemingly seeking
To restore a sense of balance.
And how much more the comfort
That creeps into my spirit
When, driving east in the morning
And west to return home in the evening,
The heavens defer for a day
The glare and glint of weekly details and demands.