Went for a hike today. First one in a long while. I wore River in a backpack sling as is the custom these days and it seems staying awake is just too hard when the rhythm of walking feels like sleep. We chatted the whole way up Tiger Mountain, greeted those passing by and once he was out there was no disturbing him.
Up top, River emerged as if from a cocoon and suddenly, he was a little boy. A person. In my lap. He looked up in a daze as a tame scrub jay landed nearly on my shoulder. He sucked on an apple slice and devoured his special rice cakes. He had missed the hard work, but still seemed pleased to be there with us on a rocky outcropping in the surprising heat of mid February.
On the way down he stayed awake for a good while, his head cocked back like a bobble-head doll, staring intently at the outline of the canopy against a backdrop of sky. At a couple points I joined him in the gaze and understood the why of the pose. It was beautiful and strange to be passing constantly under the cut shapes of the sky as it appeared and disappeared between the trees. So much to learn from such a small boy.
It reminds me of the title poem from Todd Boss’ debut collection, Yellowrocket, when the poem offers: “the kind of sky / in which a small boy / drowns.” I love that sense of expansiveness, both in terms of physical space and in the overwhelming limitlessness of possibility that innocence provides. It is good to be reminded of such things and I am continually more grateful to have such a child who calls me to consider the world as he sees it.
Damn, I love that boy.