To take it all in

By

The day following is the most delicious. A prominent sun always follows. Even on days when the sky is gray and a thick haze covers it, the sun is still felt if the occasion is close enough to savor. This is true of any occasion that has meaning, where love and beauty are present: an art exhibit of a friend's work, a graduation, a meeting with someone quite special. There is such fluidity in the day after. It moves of its own accord, like a buoy after a storm. We find ourselves relating suddenly to something we pass daily without notice -- something like a castaway chair, a back porch item that no one dusts and only newcomers sit upon. Suddenly, now it breathes life, stands apart as something the sun has singled out.

This kind of discovery happens daily in childhood. The stillness we all wait for -- moments of satisfaction -- he looks for each day. Everything has meaning to the child. The round, pink sun belongs to him. Who knows where the breeze is or where it has begun? A child would tell us. He knows the acorns, where they rest upon the tree and where they have fallen from. How the crisp, brittle , forest leaves have been broken and where to hide when the rain begins. Every neighborhood has its shelters that a child is guardian to. How thoroughly he knows his mother's hand. Freckles and blemishes seen as landmarks on this hand, examined, turned over and picked upon. He recognizes life everywhere and may know it by its footstep or its sound. Each car door slammed has a separate selfhood. Sounds to run with and to bring one home, to listen for and to mark the hour. The continuity of existence as sound. There is nothing fragmentary, little suspect, nothing uneventful to the child. Each sound, passing object, has its own niche and is required for the day's end, to be still. In this way does he honor life.

It is good that we still have these moments of recognition. One tends to forget what it was he once knew; otherwise, he would continue to know it. But a sudden, sharp sense about the living -- that so much is living besides man -- brings us back to this early awareness. That sound is touch.That much is breathing, being, as we emerge from the blur.Dry, running roads, teeming ponds, skeeters, stickers, a bowl of wet rocks. Wet the inanimate to give it life. Do you remember? And the "shiny" with a magical life beyond our own. Things that glow in the dark. What are faint, unthought-ofs for all of us are actualities for the not-yet-grown.

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What do we see as we lie in bed? Patterns from passing cars are no longer identities to set music to, to lull us to sleep. Our own things are often manipulative, not occurrences within the day, not centures old: things we put to work -- papers, plans, spurts of intensity. One thought upon another -- not pure thought -- identified, clipped and fashioned.There are no hues or rainbow facsimile in the adult world.Nothing unnecessary to our own private existence. Everything we know is brought in and cornered at the end of the day.

But all we have put aside, children are still finding and calling by name. Thank God someone cares as we become another kind of creature. Even the question of the cricket -- a most amazing realization, an awareness still sung -- so often ground beneath the roar of the refrigerator as so much fiber-life by those who hear no more. Still the child and the cricket remain. More than reminders from our past -- pinpricking needles they are, asking that we listen and be still.

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