At around 6:30 pm, I found myself walking the slight incline up from the barn to our house. I knew the hour was soon approaching to trudge back inside, to begin the daily discipline of urging my son into his room. Anna and Elise had already gone in to begin the process for our daughter. As I walked, I thought, "the days are coming soon when we can once again drift into the night" - like May fireflies trailing up and away. And I pictured our children growing older and laughing on this lawn infested with crab grass and discarded ash. I imagined them playing games of hide-n-seek while we called to them from the front porch.
I am smitten by spring. The fever has caught me, carried into my mind and soul by these warm updrafts, by a community of children and families released for spring break, and by a flirtatious desire to do something playful and free after so many months of doing those things complicated and labor-intensive like the winter's long haul and burning of wood.
We spent part of the day with friends in town. They were kind enough to invite our family over for lunch, and their's is a relaxed home which made it all the more enjoyable - full of room for the kids to play, full of an easy attitude that fits well with our own parenting philosophy, and full of leisure talk that need not be directed to some agenda. So - for awhile at least - we did the simple things that make living so much more enjoyable: eating, resting, sharing, playing.
Wyatt was eager to visit this family, for he knew that the son had a stash of Nerf guns, an arsenal that Wyatt was eager to access.
In just the last few weeks, our son's inner soldier has emerged, and his attention has turned quickly from the pistons and buffers of Thomas and Friends to anything that can pose as a projectile-dispensing weapon. It began with him taking a small piece of plastic that was a type of clamp. Not in Wyatt's mind's eye, though. To him it was a pistol that could be sternly grasped and positioned up to his squinting eye, and aimed at me as I went walking by.
Much to Wyatt's delight, Saturday the gods of war smiled upon Wyatt in a most gracious way.
As Anna and I were cleaning out one of our many out-buildings, we stumbled upon one of the few remaining boxes from our last move that we had yet to open. On the outside, the movers had scrawled with permanent marker "Picture/Toys." Inside, lay a box full of my old toys - mostly a mass body of colorful plastic men - hordes of G.I. Joe's from the earliest Cobra Commander to a second edition Snake-eyes to the more exotic and less-desirable late editions - the ones that seemed to appear from Swam Things home with their limbs and torsos and heads mutated and gross.
Yet, it was not these toy soldiers that won Wyatt's attention. He was - of course - beyond thrilled to discover that in this pile of fallen soldiers there were guns .. lots of guns - little pistols in cold black, large bazookas in army green, M-16's, grenade launchers, semi-automatics, and two ominous looking enforcers that I immediately recognized as Roadblock's weapon of choice, so large that they had to be placed in a tripod.
While Anna continued to clean out the building and I tore wood boards from the outside, Wyatt positioned himself on the front porch and entertained himself for the next several hours - discovering, imagining, learning ... everything short of drooling. When I eventually stopped for a break and found Wyatt still on the front porch, he looked at me. I noticed that he had begun to sort out all of the guns. Then, he began to ask me first one and then another question, all of them derivatives of his new fascination: "What are guns for?" "Do you like this one?" "Where did you get these?" "Did you play with these?"
There is a strong chance that when those fireflies do appear it will not just be hide-n-seek that is played upon our land. There's a good chance that this place might become - at least in Wyatt's young mind - a place of battle where Cobra and his henchmen will have to be battled, withstood and pushed back.
Sent from Anna Kendall's iPhone