28 December 2009

Wet Shoe Wisdom

The weather finally agreed to let us out
so we hied ourselves to the swinging bridge
A favorite place of ours, crossing the river
Which was now swollen, high and fast

Rain, rain and meltwater cascading downhill
spurting joyously from the rocks to anoint
our pathways as we skipped (yes, skipped)
across the road and onto the planks

In our elated rush our boots were left behind
sneakers it was for us, but not to worry
There was surprisingly little mud and we grinned
As the slush oozed from beneath our feet

It was on the trail to the tunnel under the tracks
that I began to wince and gasp at her exuberance
She was running, running on the small bergs of ice
Spining the pavement like a subterranean dinosaur

The adult in me kept calling warnings, go slow, be careful
Visions of a stumble into a heart-stopping arc to the ground
I want her blood to remain in her veins, my heart in chest
But she laughs that silver bell laugh and says "Dad-dee...!"

The tunnel under the tracks, stone settling, disgorging stream
As we turn down the trail, she chirps, a happy little bird
"I wanna go through! Careful, daddy, its wet, and drippy!"
Again my heart twitches as my grown up cautions again

She navigates the tunnel, over the swollen stream on the end
That megawatt smile as she declares she is a big girl
and has no need of my help, "I can do it!", and she refuses my hand
I sigh, and send up a weary small prayer to keep her standing

It was the third trip through the tunnel, that enlightenment came
She took the path I hoped and warned that she wouldn't
But she is my progeny, after all, and hard skulls sometimes need
Hard lessons to teach; my cautions then for the sake of form

The rock I said not to take, across the stream bed I warned against
She windmilled and flailed, I gasped, knew the lesson at hand
This hard-headed angel says "I can do it!" and she does it:
Her left foot landing square in a cold pool up over her ankle

She squeals and hops, frantic and stumbling, and I bite my tongue
Hurrying up behind to pick her up from the slick rock bed
"I'm sorry, daddy, I'm sorry" the mantra of the moment
catches me off guard and struggling not to laugh 

My angel stands up and brushes her palms together, exhaling relief,
Those rose window eyes look up at me, serious as a saint
Adult heart contracts in advance of the deluge of tears anticipated,
The mouth of a cherub breaks into a crooked smile, she says,

"Daddy, my foot is wet. And cold."

This heavenly creature and I tilt our heads back and laugh, echoes
from the mossy brick melds into the chuckling of the stream
She turns, skipping away over wet stone as if nothing had happened
While I ponder the wisdom of a mind learning everything afresh.



  1. this is so lovely and fresh and full of love

  2. I love this! I could just see y'all skipping (yes, skipping) and darting down the path and tucking into the tunnel.

    I can hear her laughter. And if I listen hard enough, I can hear yours - even when you're holding it in...

    How fun!!

  3. Good Lord, he writes poetry too. *sigh*

    "But she is my progeny, after all, and hard skulls sometimes need
    Hard lessons to teach;"

    I had to LOL at this. Ah, we can see so much of ourselves in them, can't we, even when they're reminding us they're very much their own people.

  4. I think I want to just ditto what Jan said. Cause it is what I was thinking.

    Adding. What beautiful images this conjured in my head.

  5. Children... the source of our greatest fears and our greatest joys. This is a wonderful story.

  6. I could imagine all of this while reading...Amazing.

  7. My mother says that the definition of my childhood was, "I can do it myself!" I just wish she'd seen the beauty in that.

    Great piece! I could totally visualize the experience.

  8. Ditto Jan as well, and... skipping? I can picture it now. Well done, Gumby.

  9. A "silver bell laugh". Yes. That's it. You've got it entirely right.

    How did you know to say the laughter of little girls sounds like silver bells?


  10. Eloquent and soulful, but best of all, happy!! Cheers, Irish!

  11. Love it, Gumbo, and that laugh is worth anything. I'd like a little video of you skipping though.

  12. Perfect Irish, I could hear the laughing coming right out at me...

  13. She's going to love growing up and reading these....

  14. I could really visualize that entire entry and shiver as I feel her cold little foot plopping into the stream!!

  15. There are so many days that I wish I could trade places with my children. Though, I don't wish adulthood on them. I just wish I didn't have such cares.

  16. If anyone ever wondered why we girls are "daddy's girls"... they need to do is to read this.

    Big squeeze, BIG squeeze.

  17. Don't you just wish for one day that you could go back and see the world with those fresh eyes and pure heart?

    Happy New Year, Irish.

  18. ผ่านโทรศัพท์มือถือของคุณหรืออุปกรณ์เคลื่อนที่อื่นๆ ได้ ซึ่งจะช่วยเพิ่มความสะดวกสบายให้กับคุณมากยิ่งขึ้น.


"Let your laws come undone
Don't suffer your crimes
Let the love in your heart take control..."

-'The Hair Song', by Black Mountain

Tell me what is in your heart...