Posted by: Abe's Blog | August 14, 2010

Summer Child

It is summer now and the boy loves the sand. The feel of it. Through his fingers. Drifting and sliding, a hill on his palm shrinking to individual bits and grains. He lifts his hand to his eyes, examines the specks. He likes to look close at things. Ants. Beetles. Butterflies. Moths. If he had a magnifying glass he could get even closer. He could see the patterns on the eyes of the flies. The individual hairs on the antennae of the spider.

He puts his toe in the water. It is cold. His father sits nearby. Watchful. The boy knows he is there without looking. He knows that he is safe. His father will let nothing befall him. Nothing of harm. He knows this and puts his whole leg in the water and listens. “Son. That’s far enough.” The response is quick and firm and just and good. It warms the boy to know he is watched over. He sees a tiny fish.

“Dad?”
“Yes, son?”
“Are there fish in here?” He says this while looking at the small fish.
“Yes, there are small fish.”
“Will they bite me?”
“No. They won’t bite you. They don’t eat boys.”
“But will they bite me?”
“No, son. They won’t bite you.”
“How do you know?”
“I just know, son. These fish don’t bite people. Their mouths are too small.”

The boy thinks about this. He thinks about fish swimming in the river. He thinks about them trying to bite him. He stands up and begins to walk away from the water.

“Where are you going, son?”
“I want to walk.”
“Are we exploring?”
“Yes. I am an explorer. Follow me.”

The two walk. Over the rocks. Beside the moving water. Sunlight dances and the water looks green but is clear. The boy leads, walking purposefully. Leading. The father follows. Close enough to help if the boy should fall. Far enough away so that the boy can be free. Roaming.

The boy watches his feet. A step on a rock. A step on the sand. Hard, then soft. The sound is around him and touches him like the sun. The river is singing. A constant song. A breeze stirs and the boy stands still. He wiggles his fingers and moves his hand. A special movement. It feels good. He does it again. And once more. Three times.

“Dad?” The boy says.
“Yes?”
“Are there fish in the water?”
“Yes, son. There are fish.”
“Will they bite me?”
“No. They will not bite you.”

The boy steps to the water. His father is there, a hand in his. He wants to step in the water. But he thinks about the fish. He continues on the path. He holds his father’s hand.

The air smells sweet. Fragrance. Flowers and pine. Lavender.

The boy has strong legs. He can walk forever. His hand in his father’s big hand. He likes to be here. Walking. Outside. It is relaxing. There are no walls and no loud voices or bright electric lights. He could walk here forever with his hand in his father’s.

“Dad?”
“Yes, son.”
“I like camping.”
“Me, too.”
“But are there fish?”
“Yes.”
“But they won’t bite me?”
“They won’t bite you.”
“Dad?” The boy sighs.
“Yeah?”
“I love you, dad.”

The father’s heart grows and his chest feels warm. He reaches down to squeeze the boy hard. The boy squirms, then relaxes and embraces his father. “I love you too, son. So very much.”

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Responses

  1. There is such a beautiful resonance with this story, Abe. Especially for those of us who couldn’t have an experience like this in our own childhoods, but who strive to be just like this for our own children.

    Going to have to re-read it, I think.

    • Thank you, Wolf. Cycles don’t have to be repeated, do they. I’m sure you have heard about being the beginning of your own legacy…breaking the cycles before you and beginning your own. I know I strive for this–we can only do what we can do while our children are still in our hands, though.

  2. P.S. wordpress has offered a new feature – found in your dashboard, under extras – that allows you to put a link for twitter on your page. So that if any of us *really* like what you write, we can tweet it.

    That’s a hint there, friend. 🙂

    • Okay. I’ll check out this new-fangled feature. 🙂
      I’ve been on the road. I see that WordPress changed a few things in my absence. Without asking me.

  3. Awwww…You old softie. 8)

    • You got that right! Except for the “old” part. That’s you. 🙂

  4. Beautiful, Abe.

    • Thank you, Denese. Good to see you!

  5. Aweeee…….sweet!

    • Thanks, Carmen 🙂


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