My boy wants me near. I want to be near. The sun is low in the sky. We have come inside.
He taps his pencil against the worksheet. Someone somewhere crafted this shoddy crossword puzzle. Someone believed it to be an adequate stand-in for learning, or at least believed others could be made to believe. This is how we teach the vocabulary of soil. The Rorschach of blocks (dinosaur? metro map) lacks symmetry. It lacks even the pretense of design.
Wood pulp pressed flat extrudes the texture of earth. What’s left is surface and the imagined mines we spell ourselves into digging.
We ask so much of our children.
“What is it called when rain or wind or animal wears away rock?” he asks. The reference to an animal throws me off, but I can see from the squares what the answer should be.
“What is wind and rain?” I say.
I lead him through his mind’s living maze until he stumbles over the answer. He writes “weathering” in the boxes using lower case letters. On the Sunday puzzle, I would never do that. I would also never use a pencil. I choose commitment even when it is to a mistake. I turn down false corridors and mark my path in ink.
We could slide open the glass door and streak our skin with sherbet sky. We could dig under the roots of the thyme and rosemary we started in yogurt cups last winter. They thrive now in trash cans and painted pots. The stems multiply. They surge towards light. They claw over each other to drink particle, to ride wave.
Instead, we stay folded neat as gloves inside our skeletons. The lamp’s copper wash warms the table and holds our wrists.
My boy wants me near. I want to be near. The horizon tucks the sun into her cuff. Night comes in and sits with us.
Image: Mirrorcube at Sweden’s Treehotel