I spent yesterday with my 9 month old grandson. I’m floating. I love watching him, and he looks right back. He counteracts the news.
I’m sitting with this writing prompt from Jane Hirshfield. She’s writing about poetry, but for me, and most likely her, life and poetry are inseparable.
Jane: I’ve found over the years that a surprisingly high number of the poems I am thrilled and moved by have questions in them, so will offer this simple suggestion: write a poem that begins with a question, or has a question in it, while remembering Richard Hugo’s excellent craft point: the only questions worth asking in a poem are the ones that can’t be answered.
I begin with this question: Why is the world as it is these days?
What comes to mind is an image, grandchild.
The virus has certainly disrupted our world, but I also see that it has parents and children at home. Grandson’s mother teaches and leads retreats on Zoom. His father has a flexible schedule that accommodates time with his son because those he works with also have children at home. Adaptation means children are seeing what their parents do to provide.
My son would have been away from home for ten to twelve hours a day with work and commute time, but now they share three meals a day.
Because grandchild sits in a special chair that sits on the table, when we gather to give thanks before eating, we hold hands, and yesterday because there were three of us, my son, his son, and me, we made a circle of our hands and grandson’s feet. We each held one of his feet. There’s something so precious in holding a foot, the place that connects us so radiantly, when we allow it, to earth.
Grandson’s feet have special meaning for me because his father was born with a foot that required correcting, so he had a cast at six weeks old, and then special shoes with a rod to connect them. It never bothered him. He’d bang the cast on the sides of his crib to make music and crawled easily swinging the rod back and forth. Perhaps it’s why I delight in seeing the freedom in the feet of this little guy. He’s never worn shoes. My feet respond. Yes!
May we all delight in our feet and toes as they reach up into the sky that grandson now sees as he waves his arms to the rhythm of wind in leaves and trees. Before his nap, his father takes him around to say nap time to all their bushes and trees. My son sings a little song specially designed for the treasure in his arms. I’m touched, grateful, grounded and winged.
I trust the world will return to sanity, and the man at the helm of the country in which I live will go to a place that can nourish him in a way he’s never experienced in his life.
Meanwhile I’m enchanted with images that come my way this morning. A friend watched a Monarch butterfly emerge from a chrysalis over five hours. Think of it. Transformation.