Archive for June 12th, 2013

Old man, how is it that you hear these things?

June 12, 2013 @ 7:32 pm | Filed under:


Ah, June…that lovely time of year when mothers everywhere are driven to a frazzle by endless activities, gatherings, ceremonies, and general running-around. I guess I’ve been maybe a bit…distracted?…lately? Dithered? Headless-chickened?

At least so I gather from the moment I had with my eerily perceptive seven-year-old this morning.

“Mommy, will you come outside with me for a minute?”

“Okay,” I toss over my shoulder, en route to the room with the printer. “Just let me do this one thing—” which of course turned into three things. Maybe four. Half a dozen max.

Finally, though, I told her, Okay, how about now. She took me by the hand and led me to the backyard. Paused at the edge of the lawn, looking out across the grass at the butterfly garden, the bird feeder, the trees beyond.

“See,” she said solemnly, all business, “I was noticing our mornings have been grumpy this week. People have seemed…tense. Now: listen. What do you hear?”

I’m breathless. She has this preternaturally serene expression on her usually animated little face: positively Charles Wallace.

“Birdsong,” I venture. Fluty house sparrows, a persistent scrub jay, the operatic mockingbird.

“Right,” she nods. “The music of nature.”

I’m hiding a smile. She’s so very serious. Any minute now she’ll call me Grasshopper.

“Now breathe deep,” instructs this tiny guru. “What do you smell?”

It’s a rare overcast day. You can hear the grass singing to the clouds, yearning for rain.

I’m feeling very humble now. “The good smell of green growing things?” I murmur.

“Yes,” says the seven-year-old. “Life.”

Point taken, Master Po.