Trusting the earth

The child next door is learning to walk and steps carefully, awkwardly, as if she didn't trust the earth, as if it were not beneath her with the gravity of all its weight. She steps like someone steps into water, certain the clear surface gives way to an unseen dark. Sometimes she stands and balances on her toes. Sometimes she gives up and falls to the ground but does not crawl. She kneels with the side of her face pressed to the ground, with her hands pressed to the ground as if she were listening to the slow workings of a machinery, as if she could steady the tumbling. I am sure that she is just resting, that this effort is tiring, but her attempt, her mastery, deserves such exaggeration, such praise.

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