Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why Did the Elk Cross the Road?

This afternoon as we drove home from a sweet, gray morning at the Farmer's Market followed by an equally sweet lunch wherein I found myself looking back and forth between my two peanuts and thinking how perfect life is in this moment, I noticed in the rearview mirror Abby's eyelids becoming heavy. We were still about ten minutes from home, the clock had just marked 1:00, and I knew keeping her awake was futile. Finally, her heavy lids drooped to a close, and she began her nap--her body still, her round cheeks slack, her eyelashes resting quietly on her smooth skin.

Ben, of course, chattered away from the back seat. We stopped to let the thirty or so elk cross the Parkway from the meadow to the hillside and discussed why they might be walking up the slope (lunch date at some new grassy elk cafe?). This led to a series of questions about the utilization of crosswalks by people vs. animals (people use them, animals don't) and concluded with a discussion of when it's okay to cross the single solid line in the middle of the road (for animals, it's okay whenever because they don't understand our rules; for people in cars, only when turning).

When we pulled into the garage and I turned off the car and the music went silent and the afternoon air revealed its soft chorus of birdsong, Ben released himself from his straps and slid out of his car seat while I stepped out of the car and opened the back door to gently unbuckle my sleeping beauty. Without prompting or second thought, he assumed a whisper voice as tender as a lullaby and asked, "Can I touch her?" It was almost reverent, the way he looked at her and then searched out my answer with the sincerest desire not to disturb her. "Sweet boy," was all I could manage at first, and then nodded. He reached over and slowly, very gently, set his fingers on her knee.

I could hardly contain my heart from bursting.

1 comment:

  1. Shaundra...I enjoyed meeting you -- thanks for helping me in the class. And I am LOVING your writing. It's a gift, girl...someday I will be first in line to buy your book!


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