Day 66: Light is life

This morning I didn’t see another human being on my walk. I did see a falcon and a rabbit though. As I walked, I accepted the fact that I did like the silence of the roads during the early weeks of the quarantine. I felt this odd kind of freedom knowing I could cross a street anywhere and almost without looking. No cars were coming. The silence made nature more audible and my commitment to morning walks all the more sacred.

The cars are rolling by again, their sound, their breeze warning me to look before I cross.

And maybe that’s what we’re all doing. Maybe that distance we’re keeping from one another is as simple as the learned instinct to look before you cross.

We also got some news. Preschool is tentatively scheduled to re-open on June 16. That means our quarantine storytelling days are numbered. Our family quarantine will finally end after 92 days. I think we’ll try to tell the stories of the first days back to make it an even 100.

Here’s what we’ve got for Day 66:

While watering our new green bean sprouts, Big Sister found three red, ripe strawberries in the garden for us, the first ones! But not before she found two others also ripe but half-eaten. At first I thought it was a group of little rolly polly bugs who’d done it. But now I think we might be sharing our strawberry harvest with our cool little sand lizard. I read that they like to eat fruit in addition to their normal diet of spiders and grasshoppers. And who wouldn’t?

Next we got to work watering the Lavender corner and I was tickled to see that all the flower heads, although they haven’t bloomed yet are bending a bit to one side. Why are they all reaching over that way, Mommy? Asked Big Sister.

I was reminded of a walk through the woods earlier this week when I noticed that all the trees were facing one direction. 300 feet high they were all slightly bent at the top and when I looked to see why, it was obvious–the sun. My horticulture mentor said something about this phenomenon that I’ve never forgotten. Light is life, he said one morning matter-of-factly, while walking me through the garden going over working orders for the day. He said it with authority and without pause for effect. The trees know that light is life, was the full phrase.

I half expected some kind of religious metaphor to follow but he went on to discuss the fact that the tree in the forest who grows the tallest, will soak up the most sun, do the most effective photosynthesizing and therefore make the most food for itself. I’ve observed other trees that look as if the sky itself twisted the tops until a swirling pattern appeared on the bark. I always thought it was the wind, but now I’m sure, it was the sun. Each branch reaches and as it does, the whole tree twists, getting 360 degrees of that light it so longs for.

The instincts of plants and animals and incidentally of small children have made quite an impression on me in recent weeks. There is nothing pretentious about a tree, or a 4 year old for that matter.

Listening to the girls play is a lesson in frankness. One says, Do you want to trade? Followed by a flat No, from the other one. Absolutely no thought given to how that might make her feel. Then I think of their awful reactions when they don’t like the food they’ve been served. Rude but candid. And just tonight there was a huge tantrum about who got mommy for bedtime and who got daddy. How rotten and heartless children seem when they show favoritism to one parent or another. But kids are nothing if not genuine.

While I think we all need to learn to consider the effect of our words on others, I don’t discourage the kids from reacting honestly. Unless we train it out of them, they follow their instincts. I think that’s something we could all use a bit more of. It’s efficient. Things can be out in the open and solved much more quickly. No more pressure to act like you like something and then figure out 20 years later that you actually didn’t like it at all.

So, to sum it up: instincts are good and light is life. Hope you’re getting a little light now that conditions are improving in most places.

Until tomorrow,

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