When my brother was learning how to ride a bike, he started at the neighbors’ cement step, leapt up on the banana seat that was too high for him, wavered across our scraggly lawn until he banged into the side of our house, and fell over. He hadn’t yet mastered turning, and so he repeated those steps – the vaulting ascent, the uneven pedaling, the thunk and crash – until he swerved left, up a slight hill, and kept going.
Washing dishes the other night, listening to the the increasingly grim NPR news, someone kept smashing the side of my house. My daughter was doing a handstand, kicking her heels against the clapboard – working as she said.
I thought of Dr. Spock’s Play is the work of babies – equally applicable to 12-year-olds. Laughing, my daughter demonstrated her ability to tuck her heels around her ears. She suggested I try that neat trick, but instead I lay on the grass and gazed at the clouds silently shifting over the sky’s expanse we can see behind our house. Shot through with sunset’s pink, the evening stretched around us, the cooling air nipping just the slightest on my cheeks and bare toes.
She lay on the grass beside me and said, There’s a snail just above us. See it?
Don’t worry, spiders,I keep housecasually.