Posted by Leslie Nov 14 2011, 10:52 am in adoration, dreams, reflections
Anne Lamott writes in her book BIRD BY BIRD, “We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.” As humans, we are wired for curiosity, exploration, and hunger for new experiences. Look a child in the eye and you can feel it.
Childhood reminds me of summers that stretched long growing up in rural America, when days felt 48 hours long and there was no such thing as a rain out. Our territory extended as far as our feet could carry us and every neighbor knew our kin. We carried a shovel for the occasional run-in with rattlesnakes and packed soggy peanut butter sandwiches in our pockets for lunch. Bike rides could last for 10 miles and every day we found an excuse to wade the creek fully clothed. Fresh air and freedom was our sustenance and we breathed deeply until it became an integral part of our character.
Imagination and inquisitiveness led to adventures we sometimes had no business getting into, but would we have walked the same path to adulthood without them?
• Without the input of my older brothers who decided my four-year-old brother was overdue on training for his rodeo career so hoisted him onto the feistiest calf in the field. Little Brother held on tight to the strap, gave a gap-toothed smile and said with devil-may-care abandon, “Let him buck.”
• Without Little Brother’s decision to make the horse trough an excellent home for our western version of water-salamanders, until our pets were discovered when the horses refused to drink. Little Brother had a goodbye ceremony as each one scurried off to the wild, whispering the names he had given them.
• What would Little Brother have become without his forage into entrepreneurship, the most glorious, profitable plan concocted by a seven-year-old? He hoped fisherman journeyed to their next big haul on the busy road a short distance from the house. Capitalizing on the abundant grasshopper crop, he industriously set out to make fine habitats within spare jars, then he trapped our monstrous grasshoppers, segregated them, and displayed them in a red wagon with his sign, “Grasshoppers, $1.”
He sat by the side of road with the grasshoppers eyeing him with buggy gazes and with me eyeballing him just as intently wondering at his absolute confidence in his dream of monetary independence.
Not one car stopped. The grasshoppers lived to eat another crop, but that did not sway Little Brother from his theme of dogged persistence in questioning, “what comes next?”
It formed the basis of the man he is today . . .
his days are long,
his territory stretches,
he carries a load and he jumps frequently,
he holds on tightly,
has devil-may-care abandon,
claims his friends,
has absolute confidence
. . . and he realizes his dreams. All of them. And then he reaches for new ones.
He’s my best example of freshness and freedom and I still eyeball him intently with glorious, endless wonder.
He’s the reason I believe in reaching.
If you see a lemonade stand, if a youngster taps on your door selling Christmas paper, if you’re eyeball to eyeball with a grasshopper in a glass jar and you have a spare dollar on you, contribute.
It will renew your sense of curiosity and exploration, and you’ll be glad of a chance to feed the dream. (Just please remind said youngster to stay off the cattle.)