Saturday, June 28, 2014

5 Lessons from a Small Boy

A few hours ago, I said my good-byes to my wee grandson.  His week with Gran has come to an end.  It was a wonderful time, as it always is.  But just now, it was magic – a combination of the age of wonder, country life filled with opportunities for adventure and the joy of love given and love received.

There will be other visits, but I suspect this one will be the one we remember always, for there were many lessons learned and it was the boy who led and the old woman who followed.

1. A dead moth smells good - like vanilla.  I’ll have to take his word on it, but my grandson’s fascination with the insect world comes from many things, I suspect.  One of them might be that they, like he, are small.  Mostly, I think it’s his innate curiosity that prompted him to pick up a dead moth and investigate it with all his senses.  It never would have occurred to me to smell a dead moth.  But it did to him.  And he faithfully reported to me that it had a pleasing smell, like vanilla and offered to let me smell too.  Sadly, I turned him down and now am left wondering whether dead moths really do smell of vanilla.

2. We humans travel tight circles and narrow paths.  Rowen made friends with older folk Alex and Shirley first at Evelyn’s Pantry.  He saw them again, with their sweet dog in tow at the Fiddler’s Convention.  Then at the Farmer’s Market, the restaurant and the ice cream social.  I seldom notice how often my path crosses others in any given day, week or lifetime.  But it was all new to Rowen, so I was seeing through his eyes and it was a wonderful mixture of small town and serendipity that he kept meeting up with his new friends and each time was always a surprise.  There’s really nothing quite like someone being genuinely glad to see you.

3. When you let your imagination run wild, a village quickly turns into a world Rowen, with friend ChihChun in tow, started building a village out of sticks and leaves and rocks (actually, it was probably ChihChun who set him on this course, but he ran with it once they began).  There were houses and walking paths and bridges and then the village turned into a city when a maple-leaf-twig hotel was added.  Then he ran in to demand of Anita that she help him locate a map of the world!  Around the great maple the structures grew and grew into continents.  I’ve never seen rocks as possible houses or leaves as roofs.  But I do now.

4. The facts of our lives make great stories.  And so it was from a chance encounter with some spiders and a silo of an exit from a great caving adventure, with ladders to climb and caverns to explore and low tunnels to navigate that a story book of vampires and skeletons (friends all) was written – a magnum opus to a boy’s life, replete with silos and spiders and ladders.

5. Competence and love have nothing to do with each other.  As we were exiting the cave we had gone exploring with caver friend Bill, we had to climb a vertical ladder up a metal culvert and yes, there were spiders.  Bill sent me up after Rowen, thinking a grandmother’s presence would give him confidence.  But Rowen knew competence when he saw it and demanded Bill’s help rather than my own, which was as it should have been.

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