Ideally, I would write about delight every day, making its cultivation and appreciation part of a routine until the need to think in terms of routine fades and it is just an inseparable, interconnected part of daily life. A better life through careful attention to what makes up our lives.
This particular moment though was just too poignant to leave out (and yes, wordplay nearly always registers on the delight-meter).
We’re very much in the time of firsts with Mr. Lucas. Actually, having written that, I’m now realizing that with a sufficiently nuanced lens, one especially tuned to detecting the endless shades of delight, one can remain in the time of firsts perpetually. Delights piled atop delights!
Skin warmed by late-April sun, eyes marveling at the bursts of color from flowers growing alternately lighter and darker based on the whims of ephemeral clouds, we walked. We walked, three generations in step, my dad on my left and Lucas on my right, hands grasping wrists, tethered against falling.
During these outings, Lucas often stops without warning, seemingly unaware or perhaps just uncaring of the sidewalk pile-up he’s at risk of causing. This particular time, it was the dark green, oval leaves poking their tips beseechingly through the fence a few buildings down the block that caught his attention.
Once firmly stopped, Lucas reached over and, grasping resolutely, tore a leaf away. This he let fall to the concrete sidewalk below. He then tore a second leaf away — I started to wonder at what age environmental respect and conservation should be introduced — and then a third.
This third leaf he did not drop, but instead placed it delicately on top of a fourth leaf, still on the plant, this careful gesture very much like the one where, having pulled off his sock(s) with relentless glee, he tries to put them on again by laying sock atop foot.
Having transplanted (?) this leaf, Lucas broke from his reverie and resumed his walk down the sidewalk.
The toddler impulse to pull or hit or tear or otherwise bring hand to new objects in an aggressive fashion is a very curious thing. I suspect much of it stems from not-so-finely tuned motor skills rather than from some innate propensity towards destruction. Still, we should ask what it says about adults whose mode of engaging with difference remains one of violence, a perpetual rending rather than repairing.