04 February 2006

Reaching

Now, for something completely different: a pictureless blog entry.

[Daddy] As I walked out of our statistically average home in suburban Houston carrying my sleepy daughter tonight, it struck me again how utterly boring our subdivision is, and how much I dislike it. Despite having no legitimate grounds whatsoever for complaint, I do wish ardently for an accessible clutch of wilderness where Trinhity could discover the wonders of nature -- and perhaps with her, I'd rediscover a few myself. An aspen grove set beside a clear, cold, tumbling mountain stream comes first to mind, but a pine forest with chattering squirrels would also do nicely. A steamy, mysterious jungle doesn't sound bad -- hell, even a boring old flat of sagebrush and cactus and prairie dogs would suffice.

It's the variation I miss most, the seasonal changes and the way things in nature tend to move and grow and change in ways that I didn't expect. The meager suburban homage to things green and growing tends to be manicured and predictable, nearly lost amid the SUVs and brick facades, and beholden to seasons I don't yet easily perceive. When I mentioned this frustration to my wife, she pointed out that my lovely wilderness is also populated with plenty of nasties -- mosquitoes, wasps, bears, snakes, scorpions and their ilk. Here in town we've got fire ants in the lawn, she continued, but they spray for skeeters. "Whereas in your beloved mountains," she finished dryly, "the only creatures you've ever shown me are mosquitoes and trout."

Hmmm. Point well made, but I digress.

As Trinhity & I strolled down our street in the gathering twilight, she fought off the sleepies (as she usually does) with curiousity -- a need to see whatever can be seen. As we passed under a large elm tree, she leaned back in the sling to look at the branches. Supporting her arching little back, I stepped out so she could also see the newly lit (yawn) streetlight.

She saw the lamp, but then her expression changed as she fixated on something else: the moon. It was a mere sliver tonight, but this was clearly the first time she'd noticed it. She was fascinated...awestruck. Slowly, her right arm extricated itself from the sling and extended towards it. Her wrist and tiny fingers performed a most graceful twist as she tried to -- can you believe it? -- touch the moon.

I was floored. First off, who's never seen the moon? Everybody's seen the moon, right? And everybody knows that you can't touch it, right?

Well, no...not quite everybody.

When her grasp came back empty, she quirked her head and turned to me with an expression somewhere between bewildered and bemused. Her eyes asked for an explanation that I couldn't provide -- and truth be told, don't want to give. For a few fleeting moments, we were no longer trapped in suburbia, marginalized by brick and steel, or pestered by nasties. We were merely two souls adrift on the earth, gazing up at the twilight sky...and only one of us believed that the moon is out of reach.

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