Thoughts inspired by reading John Senior:
I was lucky enough to have grown up on the edge of forty acres of field and forest, and yes a creek still runs through it. From where I sit writing this, I’m only about fifteen miles away from that spot, and yet I don’t take my kids there near enough. I’m lucky still. Mac Park lies down the road but a mile, the Nickel Plate Trail is five blocks a way, and there are three state forests within an hour of my ramshackle.
My response to creation was wonder. As I look back, I mourn that somehow I’ve lost that, and I’m resolved to regain it.
I have tried to instill this in my kids, but you can’t force wonder. During a summer excursion with the kids to Mac Park, I told them to put on the oldest sneakers they had, because they’d be getting them wet. We walked the creek from the golf course to the playground, getting a water glider’s view of the landscape, collecting stones and watching iridescent green dragonflies chase and scatter. I want more time like that, with the hand held video games lost beneath a couch cushion, the television unplugged, and the computer in sleep mode.
Anyway, after musing over some passages of Senior’s Restoration, I wrote the following. If you laugh, I hope it is in the right places.
I have gazed at midnight into the embers of a campfire with a few close friends, when to speak above a whisper seemed sacrilegious. I have read the sky through autumn-tinged leaves, while lesser stories slept on the pages clasped to my chest. I have walked the creek to the river and felled timbers with an ax and lashed together rafts with maritime knots and stood aloft upon the waters of the Wabash, pole in hand and muddy sneakers on my feet. I’ve hiked the hardwood forests and scaled hills of crumbling Indiana limestone. I have slept under the stars and awoken under a dewy blanket. I have climbed so far into the forest canopy that the branches in my hands were smaller than my wrists. In my childhood, I have loved fire and wind and trees and waters both deep and rushing. I have played in the rain for hours, tipsy from the scent of wet oak and maple. I have cut the vine at the foot of a muddy embankment and swung screaming through the sunlight into the swimming hole. I have dined upon wild onion, May apple and dandelion . I have stood upon massive glacial puddingstones and surveyed the world through the eyes of a child. I have thundered down countless hills on a Stingray bike, and wept for the beauty of a sunrise from a canoe in the middle of a pond. I have called back to the blue heron and the hawk, and gasped, pole in hand, as fish jumped flashing and spraying into the cool morning air. I have dammed the creek and caught minnows in a sieve. I have lived.
You can live, too. Turn the television off. Dress for the weather, and go outside. Do something. Do anything. Toss a football around with your kids. Take a walk. Jump in a puddle in a pair of old shoes, and let the cold water soak into your skin. Zoom down a hill on your bicycle and feel the wind on your face. Please?