Wilderness

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

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Photo by Molly S.