On a humid Sunday, we walk into Peacham Bog. When I suggest this, my youngest clarifies, A bog? That’s your idea of fun?
It’s Class I wetlands, I answer — as if this is even the remotest tease of fun.
What does lure her is the car keys. Driving there, I mention, Hey, you should always check the gas gauge before you leave home.
What’s the point? she answers. I always drive with you.
We’re driving over a particularly lousy piece of pavement then, and she carefully avoids a pothole — diligent learner.
I answer, But you won’t always drive with me. Isn’t this the whole point here? Because before long you’ll be driving on your own?
She takes that in — thinking over what’s obvious but of course isn’t — that she won’t be a child forever, that even as we’re talking she’s hurtling toward adulthood — a glacial pace for her, a rocket pace for me.
All that hike into the bog and back — exquisitely beautiful, bordering ethereal with its wildness — she carries those keys in her backpack. I can imagine she’s thinking, and I won’t be driving to any flipping Class I wetlands, but she humors me.
But I did not want to go,
not yet, nor knew what to do
if I should stay, for how
in that great darkness could I explain
anything, anything at all.
— Hayden Carruth, The Cows at Night