If anyone lived larger than life, it was Theodore Roosevelt. And here he was, looming over me on an island named after him, tucked in between Washington, D.C. and Arlington. I had arrived in late afternoon, hastening over the footbridge to try to get a look around while the light lasted.
It’s a popular walking spot, especially on a faux spring day.
There were plenty of benches by T.R. I chose one and pondered his pose. It seemed a bit awkward in my eyes. His brows were set just short of a frown. His eyes were open slightly more than a squint.
His hand was raised, not quite clenched.
I imagined him thundering, “Who in blazes took my glasses!?”
That led me to wonder what pose I’d want to represent my life. I would hope it wouldn’t be too true to life. A bronze Bruce hunched over a laptop would make a rather unmemorable memorial. Ditto for me sitting on a bench.
It’s easier to imagine signature stances for others. My good friend, Scott, the nature-writer: binoculars raised, standing dramatically on a rock. My wife, Alison: paused, gesturing in mid-story, surrounded by our smiling kids. My son, Nathan: dressed like Batman.
After a while, I rose and wandered the island. Clumping along the boardwalk over the wetter areas, I had another question bubble up: can we alter that characteristic pose, even late in life? Can we get a makeover, like D.C. did, leaving behind its century-old reputation as a fetid swamp?
I’m in a bit of a makeover right now, having initiated a few Do-It-(On)-Yourself projects in the new year. I’m not ready to be set in stone quite yet.
The sun was quickly setting and I knew the park gate closed at dusk, so I headed back to the walk bridge, stopping as I crossed it for shots of the city lights glimmering on the river.
What could be my pose?
Let it be something that captures my desire to share my gifts with the world around me.
You know, one arm reaching skyward and the other outstretched works just fine.
With or without the glasses.