Anyway, days of just Lily and I are too few and far between so I decided to take advantage by taking her to the park. When we arrived I was chagrined to find that the Boy Scouts had taken over the half of the park with all the good stuff–playground, picnic tables, most of the shade–for their summer day camp. So, Lily and I picked out one of the few, nice shady patches of grass left, not fair from the path, and made camp there. Even without the playground she kept herself pretty well entertained. There were plenty of leaves to pick up, flowers to smell, grass to be pulled, and twigs to be stuck in her mouth.
The best part of the afternoon came when she walked over to a nearby tree and just started rubbing her hand very intently over the bark. She moved it slow and deliberate, really studying it, like a blind person would feel someones face in order to recognize them. She looked very serious. She’s seen and touched other trees of course, but I’d never seen her really study one like this before. It was like she was feeling one for the first time. Then she pulled a piece off and ate it.
As I watched her I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to remember all these kinds of firsts? Since we start our lives so young and immature, those first experiences of life are either forgotten or not appreciated. Lily is 18 months old, and whatever she found so fascinating about that tree and whatever baby thoughts were going through her little mind, all of that will be lost in a matter of months. Maybe sooner. But imagine that you’re 31 (my age) and you’re feeling tree bark for the first time. Would that be amazing? Having had the privilege of being born in California, I have no idea when the first time I saw the Pacific Ocean was. I was probably a very little kid and at the time didn’t think much of it. I envy someone who was born and lived their whole life in Indiana or Kansas or Missouri and the feeling they got when they finally made that long awaited trip to the coast and saw the mighty Pacific for the first time, and the awe and wonder that filled their soul.
I’ve had my moments (first time to Yosemite, Lily’s birth) and know I have more ahead of me (still waiting on that Grand Canyon trip), but wouldn’t it be cool if you could somehow go back and remember how facsinating it was the first time you saw a drawer work? Or the wonderful terror the first time a dog ran up and licked your face? Or the first time you tasted ice cream? Or why a cardboard box is so doggone wonderful?
I’m probably crazy, but I think it would be pretty neat. Just a thought rolling around in my head on an afternoon at the park. Could be the bee sting.