single-digit wisdom

She’s not much into games. She’s far more serious than perhaps she ought to be at her not-yet-two digitdom (although soon, very soon, that will change).

image by Vicki’s Nature via flickr

Today we went walking, and talking, and I savored how gloriously different the world is from the eyes of this little one, the last of my babies. She sparkles with a thin sheen of maturity, of struggling independence, yet when you poke the surface you find underneath a purity, a beautiful rawness which oozes sweet promise. If only I might distill this innocence to keep in a jar on my shelf for later when the waters grow turgid.

It was a no-school day but at that hour most of those in the park were older, walking with purpose, with shared yet singular intent. Deeply in their music or themselves, or in the music of themselves, they marched briskly, rhythmically, the ticking of their pedometers never slowing even on the steeper slopes. Most did not even notice when one of them fell to the ground, his knees not used to running, his retiree face a-blush with embarrassment. With gazes fixed on the ground or at some invisible point in the distance, they rarely veered from the path to which they were escalator glued.

Surrounded by nature they walked as if encased in a tunnel without color or sound, without shape or texture. Had I not been with my pretty one I might have done the same, partaking in this form of modern-day meditation like an ant on a journey or a monk walking the maze.

She, on the other hand, paused with at times frustrating frequency, often simply pointing up to a tree, to a clump in the field, to a pile of rocks while she waited for me to spot what was different, what was odd, a nest hidden in the leaves, a chipmunk’s face peering from a hole in a fallen branch.

I hid my excitement to be privy to her thoughts as she chattered on and I listened.

“His whole life is a video game,” she said.

She was describing a similarly single-digited or perhaps double-digited compadre who did indeed seem always poised at the starting gate.

“What do you mean?”

“For him it’s always about winning.”

“Winning?”

“Yeah, as if it were a game. Everything has to be a race, a competition, scores, getting to the next level. But he never really has fun, he’s always so worried about winning.”

I should have liked to ask her more, but just then the chipmunk dove into his hiding place. She did a little twirl, then hooked her arm in mine.

“Let’s go this way,” she said, and off we went.

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