Sunday, August 3, 2008

FIELD NOTES: Freedom came not from learning to ride my bike, but from leaving...

August afternoon yard and driving on the mother-forbidden street! At Harrybrooke today there are lucky children, lucky because they have parents who brought them here. A toddler boy jogs alongside his stroller. The preschool teacher in me smiles when I hear the dad ask his boy to count the Canada geese. Although liberated from his stroller, he was not liberated from his parents’ fears: “Don’t go so fast, that’s how you fell last time. Slow down, slow down! That’s how you fell! Don’t go near the geese. Geese are very, very mean. They will bite you!” A helmeted elementary-aged boy learning to ride a two-wheeler is cheered on by his parents until he tumbles in the pathway. As I approach from behind in my power walk, I prepare to root for the boy myself and tell him to keep it up, but Dad is sputtering next to Mom: “Don’t stop pedaling! Come on, pedal, pedal…aw, not again! Don’t stop pedaling! (sigh) He KNOWS how to do it!” I close my mouth not wanting to go into the fray of family frustration. Instead, I notice how the cattails have evolved into their coveted state, brown and velvety and oblong, the frankfurters-on-a-stick of nature and how the voice of Harrybrooke has deepened from the soprano of spring peepers to the bass of bullfrogs. So will the voices of the young boys I notice today. It’s true that geese can bite and boys often don’t learn their lessons as fast as we’d like, but the streets of nature have often taught me to stand back and watch with my hands behind my back. Some things...water, wind, storms, weeds...will take their own courses anyway. And it is I that needs to find freedom in this loss of control. (Sigh)

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