Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Little Wanderer 

The kid likes to wander, too. With impunity, with purpose, so far mostly by our sides. She's been chased bareassed into stagefront crowds, lost boots in snowbanks. Sometimes, she's hard to catch, slippery, like any toddler. Makes me proud.

She walks plenty, of course. But her little girl legs are short and tire easily; she still accepts the indignity of the walkabout stroller for mallwalks and sidewalk window-wanders. In warmer, longer days my mother comes on Tuesdays to push Willow past the Easter Egg tree to the little beachfront along the pond. Frogs serenade her there. Tiny fish nibble her toes.

The stroller was no match for our yearly round of folk festivals; camped in pathless fields all summer, the wagon was our saving grace. But not just any wagon -- a hayride for one and a friend, fat tires beneath, red wooden slats three high all around. On Halloween we stuffed it full of hay and pumpkins, dog and orange-suited child, made the rounds as a pumpkin patch.

Now, winter brings in the old fashioned sled bought secondhand, wood runners on thin rusty trailing rods. Last year it was the only way to Christmas Vespers in the snowstorm; this year the snow has been light, burns off in after-midnight fog. But there was enough left in the meadow today for a pull and slide, the dog dashing alongside, all of us, laughing all the way.

Too soon, I know, everything will change: new job, new community, new home. In days, the outplacement workshops begin, a new lame-duck worklife punctuated by resumes and hail mary curricular handoffs. For now, as the year turns around again, I am blessed by the present, our long holiday together unbroken by commitments outside the home. And in the long run, it's good to know she'll be there, a happy wanderer, by my side.

posted by boyhowdy | 9:20 PM |

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