28 April 2008

A deep breath of all that is sweetest

The sun is glorious and the air is fresh and smells of earth. Like the many days of my childhood when I wished that school could be outside for once! We have taken our own classroom to our favorite park, but it's a long walk and after a while we need to stop and sit on a wall so that Jenna can rest her legs. We have chattered about the plants we pass at the railway sidings and overgrown industrial sites - she knows the names of a remarkeable number of them - and inspected at length the tiny green flower-like things fallen from the Chestnut trees. The city is breathing, exhaling with the spring.

Now she starts to tell me about the bird who is singing. She calls into the tree to him and tells him that we HEARD him already and then she starts to fantasise and explain it all to me. She says his song is about love and about wanting an egg. He is shouting to the female in the other tree and asking her to come and live with him. He wants to be married and build a nest. It's a beautiful story and I wonder again how she came to know so much.

Her little warm hand slips into mine and she tells me we can go know. It feels almost sacred, sharing this moment with her, and her holding her hand out to me is the tenderest shock since I usually ask for it. I realise that she doesn't want to break the feeling of something shared between us. Deeper, truer, I see something else behind the hush - I realise that she is still mine in all her wisdom and light.

At the park they both ignore me and run around making nests in a sand box. I see Jenna trying to explain the working of a scoop to Morgan, who only wants to put it on her head and laugh at herself. They are so contented, engaged in their play. I see them, see the colour of the blossoms, see the patches of dandylions even bigger than the collection we're growing in our own garden, hear the wind, see the twisted ancient boughs, hear the laugher, touch the sky. Of all the beauty around me, I possess my children the least.

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