On the eve of another year, my daughters and I talk about that trite tradition — resolutions — and I think of these lines from Rilke:
Whoever you are: some evening take a step
out of your house, which you know so well.
Enormous space is near, your house lies where it begins,
whoever you are…
The world is immense…
Not so long ago, walking outside our house meant wandering down our dirt road and looking for pebbles or newts. While the big world has always been around us, how much mightier the possibilities seem now. And that, I suppose, sums up where we are now.
Late afternoon, insects — hundreds, nay, thousands — hovered over the soccer field, mixed in with dust motes and seed chaff.
The teenage girl snapping photos for the yearbook said, Gross. The parent beside me marveled at the teeming life. Bat food.
The other parent and I exchanged random bits — traffic in Waterbury, a small write-up in the local paper, why our country can send a man to the moon but hasn’t created decent birth control. Little bits of our own, bat-esque food.
How could we forget those ancient myths that stand at the beginning of all races, the myths about dragons that at the last moment are transformed into princesses? Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage.
To get to my daughter’s preschool, years ago, I had to drive up the Center Road from Hardwick to Greensboro, along enormous farm fields. In May, the fields were nearly covered with blooming dandelions — or dandies as she called them.
‘Tis the season now for blooming dandelions — their first and brightest bloom of the season, against blue mountains and iridescent green fields.
When I was very young, with my years still countable on one hand, my family traveled to Ames, Iowa, from the New Mexican desert where I had always lived. In Iowa, I discovered green: sunlight through leaves and running barefoot on grass beneath a sprinkler. In that early-childhood magical way, this upthrusting spring season always reminds me of the implicit goodness of being four again.
It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew…
(Not a dandelion….)