Because I lay on my back as a boy in the grass of the small yard behind our house watching clouds move and become faces, mostly,
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I was able to sit for a long time holding my dying mother's hand as her sleeping face changed like a field in the sun under moving clouds,
and to hold my newborn grandson now and watch his features changing moment to moment, propelled by some inner wind I suppose must be like dreaming,
and because this watching is above, after, and before words, I am unable to describe what I believe I understand and how it comforts and sustains me.
Richard Hoffman, author of Without Paradise and Gold Star Road, is writer-in-residence at Emerson College in Boston.