Thursday, February 26, 2009

the under-ten set

this morning I passed 3 kids in a group on the sidewalk, making their way to school. two were just walking the way grade school kids walk, talking and laughing and dragging their feet as if school would wait for them no matter when they got there.
the third kid, however, was bouncing along on his pogo stick.
a pogo stick.

do you remember how much energy it takes to move along on one of those?
this kid was grinning from ear to ear, his coat unzipped and flapping along with each resounding thump of rubber-covered stick on cement, and he looked completely content to be traveling by pogo stick while his buddies had to get there the old-fashioned way, by merely walking.

it made me smile.

yesterday morning at Ash Wednesday mass there was a small child in the pew in front of me, maybe two and a half, decidedly less than three. he had a knapsack with him, and his mom let him explore as needed, and in general he was a pretty compliant mass attendee.
inside that knapsack were a plastic baggie full (at the beginning of mass, anyway) of chocolate cereal balls, a travel-size container of hand wipes, and half a dozen small treasures. it was the way this small boy looked at his treasures that delighted me: he picked up first one, the another, and just stared deeply into the stories that came with them, and I could feel the electric energy of his little dreaming brain.
the first treasure he held was a small, plastic figurine from some movie or another, a pirate-y looking barrel of a dark-headed man, his overly muscled body bulging beneath his painted on blue jacket and knickers.
he stared at these items with fierce concentration, and I could almost hear the stories playing in his head, trying as I was to tap into that elusive, fleeting creative process that is a thirty-month-old brain.

I grinned.

there's a lot to be said for remembering the joys of childhood. to see the world again with those eyes is to open ourselves up to awe and joy, to inspiration and creativity, to wonder and power and confidence. when you're 7 you're not afraid to be the King of the Hill. you're not jaded by exposure to too many unique experiences. you're a lot more willing to be thrilled by bouncing a pogo stick or dreaming up lives for the plastic figurines you hold in your palm.

maybe one of the gifts of riding a bike is how it brings me some of those simple pleasures, those things that tether us to the depth and richness of our experience here.
on my bike I grin, I make up stories, and I am Queen of the Hill in my own little egocentric world.

No comments: