Sunday, September 25


I'm getting braver.  I have to admit that at times in these early months of motherhood I've felt overwhelmed by the prospect of taking Wren out into the world without Luke's helping hand.  A quick excursion has to be perfectly timed between feedings and naps and depends greatly on my ability to find time to change my own clothing and brush my teeth.  Then I go down the mental checklist of all the baby essentials that must be packed (so many 'essentials' for such a compact being!).  It took a little over a month until I finally forced myself to pack her up and drive her somewhere by myself, which when executed without a hitch incited nearly as much pride and accomplishment in myself as the very act of giving birth.
Recently Luke and I have also felt confident enough to start taking her on hikes.  I feel like these spur-of-the-moment outings kind of define us, having been a really beautiful part of our relationship.  Out there under the canopy of trees we seem to have a lot to discuss: the past, the future, the state of the world, what exactly happened to that moth that's lying on the trail with shredded wings, etc, etc.  In fact, it was on one of these very hikes exactly one year ago that we sat down on a log and decided to return to teach in Korea (never-mind that these plans were promptly thrown out the window one month later when my body announced Wren's imminent arrival).

Today that little bird is two months old and I'm all sentimental and thought-y.  Good gracious, I can't explain how much I want her to love being outdoors, and how much I want these hikes to be a part of her very being.  As she ages I hope that the crunch of leaves and sticks beneath her feet are as familiar to her as the sound of a car racing by is for most of us.  And that the smell of wet leaves is a nostalgic reminder of her childhood.  And I hope that our little girl understands and respects nature deeply (and that she'll teach me a thing or two about it in the meantime!)

I think every time I venture into a wooded area I am tempted to deem it "beautiful" and leave it at that.  But to reduce the natural world to it's aesthetic beauty is as grave a sin as to reduce a woman's worth to the look of her body and her face.  So in the same way that I want to teach Wren that her value is never determined by another person's opinion of her beauty, I want her to understand that the trees and the grasses and the water and the sky function as more than eye-candy for human beings.  I want Luke to teach her how the largest mushroom is miles wide and that fungi can communicate information across huge distances.  I want to tell her about the mussel populations that used to filter our river and keep it clean before pollution wiped them out.  And how butterflies don't just sit on pretty flowers posing for calendars, but that they actually pollinate those flowers and in so doing propagate the next plant generations.

But for now we'll just keep taking her out there.  Let her see what she sees, eavesdrop on our life-talks, and drift off when she feels the need.

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