The littles found these eggs hiding on the wood pile, each perfectly clear, & each the size of two sesame seeds. Just laid, it appears, by the way they are gathered like sleepy siblings. I can only imagine the chickens who laid these. These are the treasures you don't look up, the ones filled with way too much magic.
Unless, of course, you are going through the intense, important, truth-hungry nine-year-change. Then, you do look it up. Because knowing is a sweet relief from a nearly-boiling curiosity. Justice for truths obviously ommitted by inconsiderent or possibly less observant mothers. I love this age, this moment with my boy. And, I haven't totally caught up & am still giving imaginative answers to most of his questions, or responding with, "What do you think?" I suppose I am also trying to preserve the dreaminess of his brothers. But really we have never been more on the same page. I have waited for this time with my children. Together we are filled with a wanting hunger that feeds itself - What? Who? When? How on Earth did Earth do that? If D & I can manage the dance between supportive encouragement & required family expectations, then he'll get to keep this innate state of awe. Reason to live more than any career we could dream up for him.
(Some days we squash it right out of him, but I have to believe that life has it's own lessons & we are ultimately not the ones in control of anything around here. We've just gotten really good at saying Sorry & making new promises we work to keep.)
For years we've read E.B. White's The Trumpet of the Swan, over & over again. It's so full of goodness, sadness, sweetness, rightness. This is the first year he's stopped mid-chapter, aghast, & exclaimed, "Is this a grown-ups' book?" He's noticing the coming of age parts in a whole new way. Always meaningful has been the main character, Sam Beaver, & his grounded confidence in his relationship to the natural world. Without effort he is respectful to his surroundings, he finds answers & befriends animals without ever being the invasive sort that so disturbs my boy. A model for a young naturalist.
We recently devoured The Indian in the Cupboard as a family. Such a magical story, with plenty of blatant cliches to inspire other conversations. What I loved & saw him take in at a deep level of understanding was the maturity & consciousness required to fully care for another living being, let alone a 3-inch Iriquois man, a crying cowboy & their two horses. As a mom I appreciated the acknowledgement, but both of our bigger boys appreciated their own understanding of the seriousness, importance & privilege of the whole situation.
So now we've moved into a fabulous, fabulous story, 2 Little Savages, with it's outdated English & foreign early 20th-century American values. It's about two young boys who live in a teepee for a month, & teach themselves to build shelters, dams, make fire without wood, identify wildlife, forage for food & a number of other things one would not think possible. For sure this must be autobiographical, because we are learning a ridiculous lot. I keep stopping to explain the story in modern-day language, but even my four year-old thinks this is unnecessary. It is because the reader really understands boys, it seems. Curious, committed, & free, some boys are, desiring nothing more than to know & name the wonders of the wild.
I found 3 do-it yourself field guides for kids by the wonderful Jim Arnosky, who Stefani & the Blue Yonder Boys introduced us to. If you are a Lakes Region local, they are $2.98 each at the Country Bookseller in Wolfeboro, NH. Shore Walker, Bug Hunter & Animal Tracker are each "nature notebooks" with about 20 pages of beautiful illustrations & information on how to track & draw one's observation with plenty of blank pages with various tea-tinted backgrounds that look plenty aged & legitimate. (They were .75 cents -$5 on Amazon)
Brunch for the Hardworking Men & Women of Middle Earth
Hand-formed Dew + Red Clover Pollen Cakes
Blue + Huckleberry Jam (swiped from the bubbling sides of hot, sun-ripened fruits)
Crystalline Eggs, Fried (over the mica slices that top steaming granite)
Dried, Salted Minnows