And before the fireflies... the ferns.

   There are wrinkles embossed into my left arm. The creases look like the laced leaves of a fern. Who knew babies' blankets could be so green?

  The baby is asleep next to me on the bed. Finally. He is worn out after all his adventures this afternoon.

This is just one of them.


(Did you know that adventure is common-place to a child?) 

   We sat down on the front steps (me on the concrete, him on my lap), and enjoyed the fresh evening air together after the steady all-day rain. The low clouds of the morning had cleared off and not only was the air fresh, it was golden. The baby was very young. Old enough to look at the world and follow it's motions, but young enough to surprise himself with his own. 
  I noticed he was looking at the tall ostrich ferns beside the wide steps. I reached out, and pulling a fern frond towards us, brushed it up and down his chubby legs. His toes curled tight, and he held very still, watching. "This is a fern," I told him. He surveyed it suspiciously. "Oh?" he seemed to say. "What's that?"  "Well-" I started to say, then: "What is a fern?" I asked myself, and suddenly, I caught a glimpse of it through his wondering eyes.

Tall so tall eye-level green shades of the same colour, so many but all the same, offered in an array of dizzying lines. A creature that swayed in so many directions all at once, softly, subtly. Was it alive? Was it nice? Or menacing? Was it like that animal the girl-person had called 'River' and had stuck his toes into? It had bitten him with cold...    
For a moment, the emerald was all-consuming and there was nothing but green for so far, and always shifting.

   Suddenly, he decided the fern was staying in it's place (wherever that was) and uncurling his toes then holding them stiff, he reached out both tiny hands, fingers spread wide- into the fringes of the frond. He wasn't coordinated enough to grasp them even though he wanted to, and they slipped through his fingers. He curled and uncurled his toes rapidly, waving his arms jerkily, gazing raptly still at the plant. I traced the frond down the middle of his face. His eyes closed as it passed and opened again, startled, staring. I tucked it between his toes and waited for his reaction. He paused his movements, toes automatically holding the stem tight. 

It didn't feel nice, but it didn't feel nasty at all. Somehow the thing was alive, but it didn't look at him. When would it come towards him? It moved all the time, in small incessant rustlings. It had to be alive, but that strange girl-person seemed to be friends with it, and SHE was ok.

   He started moving again, and the kicking waved the frond around, and somehow he managed to get his fingers tangled in it enough to actually break a piece off. Of course, he tried to put it in his mouth. Give that one brand-new tooth some practice, you know. He was fascinated by the fringes as long as we sat there.

   It reminded me of a poem I'd read earlier this spring.

the little horse is newlY

Born)he knows nothing,and feels
everything;all around whom is

perfectly a strange
ness(Of sun
light and of fragrance and of

Singing)is ev
erywhere(a welcom
ing dream:is amazing)
a worlD.and in

this world lies:smoothbeautifuL
ly folded;a(brea
thing a gro





I have felt gigantic
as if I could hold oceans
ever since I discovered
this afternoon
that the distance between the
of my fingernail and the first
of the middle knuckle on my
index finger


Bog Slogging

So it's summer you know. Earlier in the season I thought perhaps I would dance from sheer joy after seeing the first firefly, but now I have beheld it and the joy turned out to be a hold-your-breath-in-amazement type of silent moment, all still.

That wasn't what I was going to write. But somehow it Came. (said Pooh, humbly.)

This was what I was going to write.

This afternoon my father and my sister and two of my brothers and I sallied forth to slog a bog. Or slush through one. Or goulash through one.  (We were trying to come up with a word that captured the peculiar slurping sound one's boots make in a bog...)

Here are some Bog Observations rescued from my notebook which, although nearly submerged in seeping brown water at one point in time today  *ahem* , is still legible.

Bog Observation #21.
(they begin at number 21 just because I happened to like that number at the moment)
Beware pitcher plants; moss sometimes surrounds them so that they are transformed into old wells whose covers have rotted off. It would be terrifyingly simple to fall down one.

Me: Here be Dragons.  RUNNNNNN!!!!!!!!!!
J: As if you could in this sphagnum and these boots...

"Never set down your waterbottle, it may disappear." -N, upon seeing me snatch mine from a certain watery grave

"It's hot, and it's warm, and there's often this sinking feeling." -W, upon being asked to describe the experience of bog-slogging

"It's wearying to have to dig your boots out each step..." -J, after reaching down and hauling herself out of a particularly murky spot

"You have to be optimistic when you're in a bog, otherwise you keep getting these sinking feelings..." -N,

*you will notice a theme here*

"It's a good thing I kept my optimism up, otherwise I might've sunk for sure that time."  -N

"Bog-logs are awesome!"  -J

"But if the log rolls over we'll all be dead..." -J

Me:  OWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!
N: Did a rattlesnake get you????
Me: No, it was a stick.
N: Those are dangerous.

Me:  Which way are we going?
N: That way.
Me: Oh.
N: Actually, I should be more specific. We're going in a southwest direction.
N: Now we're going at a south southwesterly type of angle...
Me: Oh.

*a little bit later, said in a faintly Australian accent*

"Heah's a fahct which cahn be eNAWMously helpful; ferns always point North. Or South. Or East. Or West."   -N

"I love goulash." -W, after a juicy, slurping step

"This swamp bugs me!" -N

Me: You sound like a moose.

*I was actually referring to the generous way in which he crashed through ferns and brush*

"If you wear huge boots in the swamp, take them off in the woods and go stocking-footed to save your blisters..." -J

N: Where are they going?
Me: Toward the swamp. Daddy can't stay out of it.
N: Yeah, bogs attract Dad as easily as they attract bugs.

We kind of lost track of time. The remaining two Observations are from our speedy trip towards home.

"Going to church, late, in clean clothes?! Where's the adventure in that???" -W, during our discussion of whether we should go straight to church (muddy as we were) or stop at home and change first

"Stealing wood is more of a Tuesday thing..." -N

*I really have no idea where that came from*

These are all very scientific observations. Consider yourself fully enlightened as to what one might encounter while alternately wading through, falling into, splashing about in, exploring and/or otherwise disappearing into:

A Bog.