Wonder is my grandson. He is a running, talking, eating, sniffing, grabbing, singing, lunging, throwing, two-legged, two-handed, two-year-old with a seemingly boundless supply of both energy and curiosity coupled with a an imaginative and fearless questioning of everything. I mean everything.
Spending the day with Wonder is an education in how to live. Everyone is his friend. He doesn’t know how the curly-headed little girl at the playground voted and he doesn’t care. He can create a rousing game of PJ Masks with almost everyone, and they are all on the same team–interconnecting to “save the day.” He delights in a Charms Blow Pop for lunch and left-over pumpkin pie for breakfast, but he also gobbles eggs, butter-topped bagels, and barbecued pork with equal vigor.
He notices everything, that one.
So yesterday morning, I noticed everything Wonder-style.
We sat on the sidewalk and traced orange stripes marking power lines. We slapped the corresponding orange and yellow flags on their spindly wire posts.
We threw sticks in the creek behind Pat’s house and kicked hundreds of leaves up into the air.
We ran. And ran. And ran. You see Wonder taught me yesterday that it doesn’t matter how dorky you look if you run, running feels good.
We pulled a thick dead branch from underneath the leaves and stood it up well over our heads and let it topple over the side of the creek.
We held hands. Wonder’s hands are small and warm.
We tossed squirrel-halved walnut shells into rippling water.
We sang silly made-up songs because that is a specialty of mine.
We talked about white cars and blue cars and Cat Boy (Wonder is a huge fan) and Po’s 1990s era red Ford Ranger and Christmas and the way leaves sound when you crunch them into the ground.
We noticed Cardinals and Robins and Dark-eyed Juncos and Sparrows, and did I mention the leaves–they were everywhere beneath our feet and in our hands and still floating down from the trees or hanging onto stark limbs waiting for a big wind.
We found a very old stone deer in a pile of leaves, and before I knew it, Wonder took a ride!
We walked and walked and walked until Wonder couldn’t walk anymore and then I lifted him on my back and carried him home.
I’ve been grieving for a year. I do not write this because I am clinically depressed or need reassurance that the world will be okay because I believe with or without us, this world will be okay. No, I write this because yesterday Wonder showed me today–this very minute–is glorious place to hang out.
He gave me an idea–what would happen if I stopped mourning the world we lost last November and started loving the world we are left with?
I don’t mean to be simple here. I don’t suggest we cease our necessary struggle against the misogyny and racism and classism and plain meanness that dominates our political culture, that threatens so many of our citizens on an hourly basis, but I do suggest that love–for me at least–is the sustenance I need for the long-haul because a long-haul it will be.
In other words, more walks with Wonder.