Last night, as we were having a glass of wine on our deck, before dinner, Forrest called from Ottawa. The baby due in two weeks had decided to arrive a little early. So the evening calm became sharp with excitement. And a couple of hours later, Edmond Richard Labelle Pass was born.
He has his father’s (and brother’s) gingery hair. (Anyone who knows Forrest will recognize those eyebrows!) His mother is dark-haired, hazel-eyed. Having something of that colouring myself, and having one dark-haired child, one ginger-haired, and one blond, two with blue eyes and one with brown, I know that genetics can lead us on twisting paths as we try to determine a child’s legacy. But Edmond has wonderful parents whatever their hair and eye colour. He will go home to a blue house on a quiet street, a joyful brother, a backyard with a leafy grapevine and a red canoe. He has French-speaking relatives and English-speaking ones. Far back he has an Algonquin family and he has tendril-y roots in Yorkshire and in two small villages in Central Europe.
We won’t meet him until later this summer but we will arrive bearing gifts. Already a poem is being considered for a birth announcement to be printed on our old Chandler and Price platen press. And in the meantime, some words from Louis Macneice for sweet Edmond, on a soft morning in July:
. . .provide me
With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk
to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light
in the back of my mind to guide me.